Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Measuring Satan's Popularity

At one time the devil was quite unpopular in America. We had two national revivals where people turned from their evil ways and came back to God. The "evil things" we do are what the people's master wants them to do! Satan doesn't even have to tell us to do wrong. It's inherent in our sinful nature. He just sits back and smiles while people do what he wants! The reason he is so successful is because of what he offers!

Satan offers many things:

  • pride
  • pleasure
  • the knowledge of the things the world teaches
  • wealth
  • what appears to be independence
  • prestige
  • acceptance
  • popularity
  • and many others which are sub-categories of these major "gifts"

1 Corinthians 6:9 (ESV) "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Let's see, pleasure: sex, adultery, homosexuality, theft, drunkenness, partiers and swindlers; and for pride: idolators; and for wealth: thieves, greed, and swindlers!  I've written many times: what the serpent offered Adam and Eve to live for Satan, which was pleasure, wealth and false knowledge in the form of pride and reason.

What does Jesus offer:

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control
  • generosity
  • modesty
  • chastity
Count them: there are twelve!
Revelation 22:2 "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Nine of these are mentioned below. The other three have always been traditional:

Galatians 5:22 (ESV) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

Guess what? The twelve fruits can offer pleasure, knowledge and wealth!!! It just depends on the attitude of who you are! Let's examine those. Pleasure: love, joy, peace and gentleness! Knowledge or wisdom: patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, modesty and chastity. And for wealth: generosity.

It appears that pleasure, knowledge and wealth, as is beauty, is in the "eye of the beholder". There is one big difference: Satan promises more now and nothing later. God promises some things now all these things eternally as can be seen from this passage:
2 Corinthians 4:18 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
"Evil things" are "of the flesh". They are material and temporary. Those are the things offered by Satan as he smiles when your idol, YOU, takes them as he offers them. Note that Satan is not your God; YOU are! He actually sacrifices things to you, then harvests his bounty. His bounty is YOU. You belong to him because he paid tribute to you. Hence, while once you were free, once you take his offerings, you become a servant to the one who serves you! (This is much like the drug-pusher and user relationship).

This may seem an odd proposition, but the devil mimics God. He does what God does only distorts it! God desires that we serve him, but in turn to set the example, and show his love, he first serves us. Satan does a cheap imitation!
 Colossians 3:23 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
Mark 10:45 (ESV) "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We see here that we are to serve Jesus, but he doesn't even count on it, but serves us anyway! That's the same with Satan, except for one thing: Although he serves us whatever we want whenever we want it, he EXPECTS that we serve him because he is a selfish being. His service to us is for nefarious reasons: It's to destroy us and undermine Christ!

What is the metric for measuring Satan's popularity? It's the number of people who accept his gifts! Most people accept them readily because the devil's wares are attractive to the flesh and they are immediate! God's gifts are attractive to the Spirit and are long-range for most in a physical sense. However, we're not guaranteed life even tomorrow, and our life-span is short when compared to eternity!

Is Satan more popular now than when you were born? I know; you don't believe in Satan! Let me rephrase that:  Is the first list more popular right now than the second list? Any sane person would say that the first list is! What's more, anyone can see that the first list is becoming more in vogue and at an exponential rate. God allows that, and even foretells, that near the end the "evil things" of Satan will be more popular than the sacred things of God. As this world degenerates, Christians are getting nearer the promise of a "kingdom of God" where Satan is thrown in a pit! With that, the first list will be non-existent.

In heaven the second list will not only prevail, but will be THE LIST and ONLY LIST! If you're a Christian, why not start practicing what is soon to come so you won't feel out of place? Satan and his gifts, in heaven, will no longer be in vogue, and if you're there, what once you loved, you'll come to loathe!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Coincidence or a Plan?

First off, the exact location of Calvary is unknown! Calvary is where the blood of Jesus was spilled and his Spirit taken from a lifeless body to pay the fine for all sinners of all times! We know it's in Jerusalem, but the exact spot is contested. Let's look at three verses from scripture:

Genesis 22:2 (ESV) He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
2 Chronicles 3:1 (ESV) Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
John 19:17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.
What do these three verses have in common? It is believed that they are the same place! Like Calvary, Mt. Moriah's location is not known exactly, but early writers believe that Golgatha and Mt. Moriah are the same place because in Judaism the two locations are considered the same!

It appears that four things happened at the same place:

  1. Abraham offered his only son Isaac as a sin sacrifice (burnt offering).
  2. Solomon's Temple which God "inhabited" was built at the same place.
  3. The Lord appeared to David there.
  4. Jesus was crucified where the ultimate sin sacrifice was made for all mankind!
As I was driving one day it came to me! "The Mystery of Christ" was revealed to me, not by preaching nor teaching, but by divine inspiration. No one had ever preached this to me. God revealed it. It was on Calvary that Jesus (The Word) spoke to Abraham and who by faith obeyed the most gruesome command: offer your only son to God for the sins of mankind! Abraham was going to do just that when God saw his willingness and faith and was merciful. By grace It had been a test and Abraham because of faith, passed the test! 

The Word (who would be Jesus) provided a ram for the sacrifice. The ram took on the sins of man and was the sacrifice. This was a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God, being the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind! It was to happen right here in this same place 2000 years later! What faith Abraham had!

Hebrews 11:17 (ESV) "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, 'Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.' 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back."
Paul makes it clear when he spoke to the Hebrew people. They knew Abraham. They knew of the sacrifice! Paul likened it to Jesus who was crucified and raised from the dead. What Paul didn't say was that Jesus was crucified on Mt. Moriah, the exact same place that Abraham 2000 years before was to do what God did do: sacrifice his only son!

When David talked to God it was the pre-incarnate Jesus to whom he spoke. It was on Calvary, called Mt. Moriah! Jesus spoke to Abraham in the very place he would die!  David's son Solomon, following The Word's instruction, built a temple there for The Word's abode. It was God's First Temple and where God ministered to mankind. It was through The Word which God ministered. Jesus was there all along telling the faithful all about his plan for salvation!

Abraham was tested by God. He passed the test. Abraham was saved by faith and Lazarus laid by his side in heaven. Abraham, because he not only knew about the Messiah, but spoke to Jesus before he was ever born, had the faith that by grace he received eternal life and now Abraham's faith is the great faith to which all men are measured!

2000 years later, there was another test! Will God fulfill his promise? Will Jesus die for all men as he told Abraham he would? It wasn't easy, but Jesus who knew of his death before he was ever born, in fact from the creation, carried his own tree to Mt. Moriah so he could fulfill what Isaac was about to be!

God kept his bargain. Jesus, who wrote his own autobiography (in advance) had one plan. It was "plan A" with no "plan B". It was intended all along that The Law was not for salvation, but to show love! "Plan A" all along was that God himself would make himself just like us and feel the sting of death just as we do.  The "Dispensation of Grace" was always. Abraham had the same grace that we have, but he had faith in what would happen, whereas our faith is in what did happen!

On Mt. Moriah there was one difference! God had yet to put on flesh. Before God could die for mankind he  must feel what men feel and be tempted by the same tempter which we face. Part of "Plan A" was that Jesus be born a man, be tempted, be ridiculed and judged and die unfairly in his innocence. The Plan had to be 100% complete before the "covenant of grace" could be consummated. The Abrahamic Covenant was the Covenant of Grace!

Part of the Plan was that Jesus die yet live. In a sense, Paul tells us, that figuratively Isaac died and was resurrected. Part of "Plan A" was that Jesus would indeed die, but would live on! Forever!

Paul tells us also that Isaac's seed would fulfill the Plan. Jesus was one of his seed. As the father of Jacob, who was renamed Israel, Isaac has eternal life. He was the ancestor of Jesus and by Jesus Isaac was resurrected and yet lives!

It's no coincidence that all these things happened on Mt. Moriah! When God has a plan, it's implemented. A person would be a fool to fail to understand the parallel between the story of Abraham and Isaac isn't the same as between The Father and Jesus, and on the same mountain! What a plan! What a promise... and it was there all along: "the mystery of Christ... "the mystery of the Messiah"!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "love" as "a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person".

Let's take a quick look at that! "Feelings" are being aware of yourself.  How you feel is a contributor to your emotions. "Affection" is caring for another. It's a "feeling". The definition of "love" is circular. Really most people recognize love, but it's hard to explain! Is it an "emotion" beyond the bounds of control or is love and the degree of love something that can be guided and changed?

 Within the definition of love are different types. I won't go into the Greek, but we have romantic love, brotherly love and love for God. However, love is not black and white. For instance, we may love our spouse romantically which may or may not be sexual. We may love the spouse with care and concern. That's brotherly love. Or we can love the very soul of a mate and care that they not suffer eternal death and that they be blessed by God! A "perfect" marriage is a blend of all three, but nothing is ever perfect! In fact, what is important changes with time. Sex and romance is extremely important initially, but as we grow older, it's the fondness of being friends with each other and wanting a holy alliance to please God because "love" ultimately is our only means of "deserving" eternal life; not that we deserve anything, but that's the way we show God our appreciation for his grace!

The writers of dictionaries aren't necessarily Christians and write from a secular standpoint. For "the world" everything is always about "the flesh". Basically "the flesh" is whatever pleasures the body and mind. "The flesh" neglects the spirit, and thus, the whole has an empty spot inside! What does God say about love?
1 Corinthians 13:4 (ESV) "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends."
To "love" is being patient and kind, never being jealous nor prideful. Love is never being arrogant nor self-centered.  Love is never resenting the other person. Love does not delight when things go wrong. Love is based on truth and trust. Love bears all things! Love believes all things! It gives the benefit of the doubt when there is doubt! It hopes for better things to come and bears patiently until it does.

LOVE NEVER ENDS! It can't. That's what "love" means!!!!

Now look at God's definition. Is there one thing in there that makes love touchy-feely? Is there is one iota of indication that the heart must palpitate wildly or that love is all smooth sailing? Nada. Nothing.

Love is more than emotion. It's a holy demand!!!
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
You might rightly say "But that's a 'brotherly love' command"! It is. But, as I said, love isn't black and white. There is much overlap. Along with the brotherly love we look at the romantic side to love:
Matthew 5b ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
 Ephesians 5:22 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."
Husband and wife become one and the unit is holy in God's eyes. Whoever seeks to separate the two, even one of them, will suffer spiritual consequences! Why? Because marriage is a picture of our relationship to Christ, as spoken in the last verse!

"Submit" in this context, does not mean that wives becomes slaves to husbands! In context it's the same as for husbands who are to love their wives. Women are to love their husbands! Romantic and mutual love is linked to our love for Jesus Christ. Because we love Jesus, we abide and love our mate. The marriage bond is a holy bond!  And I won't even look at the penalty for breaking what God joined together,  but it's a terrible sin. True, sin can be forgiven, but don't gamble with sinning with the plan of asking forgiveness, because repentance must be from the heart!

Let's look at the love and hate, God and you:

Figure #1: Love Circle

We're to love God first! God's competition is "The Self".(Figure 1 above) It's all the ingredients which makes a man a living being with a soul, and being made in the image of God, we want to be loved. Unlike God who's not encumbered with "self-love" we are. We put the things which please "The Self" above what pleases God! Anytime we do anything in defiance of God it is "The Self" we're worshiping. We are "the other gods besides him". Hence, in the center of the circle are the "Trees" which we can eat from: The Tree of Life (Jesus) or The Other Tree which is us! Adam and Eve didn't bow down to the serpent, they bowed down to their own "flesh". Our love of the things of the flesh is what makes God jealous. We worship what God created (The Self) rather than the Creator.

If that's not true, ask yourself "Do I always put God first?" My answer is that most people always put "The Self" first, and as such are worshiping other gods! 

To show that we are worshiping God rather than self, he commands (demands) that we love others and obey what he says! Of course sinful humans, being in love with "The Self" over God, place "The Self" against others as well! This is where God's view of love is important from 1 Corinthians 13:4 above! As we step aside of our "Self" to love God, we too are to step aside from self and love others! And to be like Christ and our relationship to him, it is commanded that we never separate whatever he has joined together! 

From God's viewpoint "love" isn't an emotion; it's a duty. He doesn't say to love each other as detected by emotions, but he commanded it. "Love" is a "work"! In God's definition of love it's things you are to do! It's not things you should "feel" which demonstrates love. Love is there even when anger raises its ugly head! Love is there when feelings are hurt. Love is there when opinions differ. Love excels over all things because God makes it possible! It's not an automatic thing, but if one's eyes are focused squarely on God, those things making up love are possible for to God; love is forever!

Now look at Figure #2 below:
Figure #2: Love-Hate

Love-hate is a continuum. It's also time dependent. Most people don't "love" all the time nor "hate" all the time. It depends on circumstances and events. In between, as world's collide, "love" can quickly move to "tolerate".  After much disgust "love" can move to "I don't care!" Hopefully Christians will never get to the point of "avoid" all the way to "hate" because that is ungodly! God's assignment is to work on relationships to bring that apathetic feeling back to love. It can be done because God tells us to do it; even commands it!

However, our god keeps getting in the way! We take our eyes off Christ and put them on "The Self" and that's just backward!
James 4:4  (ESV) "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you."
Do you feel stressed about a relationship? Do you fight about things? It's the devil stirring "passions" which "are at war within you". You've been tricked! Satan's job is to destroy what God has joined together, whether it be marriage, families or the church; all spiritual institutions. If we look toward God, we resist those thoughts in our heads, and the devil will flee from you! Whatever ails you right now, if you focus entirely on Jesus, it will go away. God promises that! What does it take to focus on Jesus? We must all look beyond "The Self" and self interests, feelings and strong emotions, planted there by the devil and let Jesus lift us up!

What a promise if we only humble ourselves! I am truly humbled. I have focused more on God recently and see that love is so important!

When I got married the vowels of the marriage ritual weren't strong enough for me because I wanted my marriage to work. I wrote two pages of specific vowels; ones which would make my marriage stronger from my part. I meant them all. Even when I'm angered or resentful, my love never ceases! Marriage is an imperfect institution even though it's of God because its participants are mere sinners who mess up, get angry, say things best unsaid, and listen to the deception of others.

My son, Jason, when his marriage ended in divorce, had a banner on his wall. It said "Family is Forever". That's equivalent to what God says "Love is forever"! I cried because God couldn't save his marriage because God wasn't called on to save it. His empty house now is sad for me. It's hard to visit there because what once was, no longer is. Satan smiles. He won the battle. However, Jesus will win the war!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

I'll Be Frank

Frank: Why do you say things which destroy others?

Iffy: I'm offended! What do you mean?

Frank: You're not qualified to advise anyone. When you counsel from ignorance those counseled are ill advised and you have the liberty in sleeping well "Because you were only trying to help"!

Iffy: I don't do that! My advise is sound!!!!

Frank: Do you have a counseling degree? Have you years of experience in helping others or are you pretty much a loner?  Is your own life in order?

Iffy: No, I have my own problems and NO I do NOT have a counseling degree!

Frank: Then you destroy the lives of others even though you have no credentials?

Iffy: But I just know! It's all common sense.

Frank; That's what the ignorant believe. The human mind is complex and the spirit easily fooled! By the way, just what is your knowledge of scripture?

Iffy: I read it often!

Frank: I read Science Illustrated. Of what I read I understand only a small fraction of that and I certainly can design and build cars, or even work on them, because I read a magazine. In order to be an expert one must DO what one READS and do it successfully. I've never worked on a car. I've only read about them. Can I work on yours? I'll start with body work because I've always wanted to pretend that I was good at that!

Iffy: But I'm special. God gives me wisdom.

Frank: So your counseling is inspired! I'll buy that. However, I notice that when you advise it's contrary to what scripture says! I know you're following the spirit, but are you sure which spirit you're following?

Iffy: I'm certain that God gives me special insight.

Frank: Scripture says that "even the elect" shall be fooled. That means good Christians will be deceived. You see, Satan's strategy is to use partial truth to propagate a lie. Do you remember the serpent's trickery with word play when Eve was tempted? The serpent tricked her by craftiness to say "if I eat of the tree or  touch it God said I will surely die."  God didn't say that. Eve was confused! God said nothing about "touching the tree" and Eve was a know-it-all. God never told her anything, but she let on as if she and God were close and that she knew more than she did!  That's what people do today! They watch Dr. Phil and steal his credentials.

Iffy: You're blowing this out of proportion. I was only trying to help a friend with troubles!!!!

Frank: When I was a child the first fifty-cents I earned was from a farmer who gave me money as a reward to stay out of the way. He was a wise man. He was able to work his own chores without my interference, plus save me from harm. You can take a lesson from him. Until you're trained, have the experience and wisdom, your help most is staying out of the way!

Iffy: At what point can I help others with their issues, then?

Frank: When you quit being a baby in your own life! Selfish people are blinded by their own wants so greatly that they can't focus on what's best. Narcissistic people don't have the ability to ever be wrong, let alone say "I'm sorry"! When you outgrow your own childish ways, then you can help others, but only if you have studied the scriptures and apply them as God wills. He will never have you to counsel someone to commit sin! You've been doing that!

Iffy: But my friend needed out of that situation!

Frank: Who says?  She, you or God? Satan is a deceiver. What's falsely perceived as right in the eyes of the deceived are sin in the eyes of God. We really need to be careful when we advise; we may be directing a loved-one on a wide path to destruction. The narrow path is the hard path, but with God it can be made easy.

Iffy: I reject all this hogwash! I'll do what I think is right and you can just shut up for all I'm concerned.

Frank: That's been tried time and time again. People have always "done what's right in their own eyes". You see, people worship themselves besides God. We need to be careful that we give God our full attention. When Adam and Eve stood under "The Other Tree", they didn't reject God, they just added another god besides him. They did what was right in their own eyes and left God right over there within sight, feeling bad because his creations were worshiping themselves. He's a jealous God and if we don't do his will, someday we'll be judged.

Iffy: You're just trying to confuse me with scripture I haven't studied thoroughly.

Frank: Your job is to first learn God's will for you before you counsel others with what God's will is for them.

Iffy: I don't sin, I go to church and I obey God!

Frank: But do you really? Look at yourself. Are you perfect? When is the last time that you earnestly told God that you're sorry? If you can't tell others you're sorry  because of pride, Ms. Know-It-All, are you telling God how sorry you are?

Iffy: I reject all that you're saying ("I wish I could get out of here!" she thinks).

Frank; If you're counsel is wrong, and it may be, are you prepared to suffer the consequences? It may not be you which feels the pain, but your loved one will. The one to whom you advised wrongly will suffer dire consequences and you will be responsible! Those who advise against God's will are in league with the devil whether they know it or not! That's sounds rough, but that's scripture. Eve loved God, but she took bad advice from the serpent and passed along that bad advice to Adam, who was stupid enough to believe a woman without experience, training or even a relationship with God! Eve is responsible for, not only her own death, but Adam's as well, and on top of that, today we still suffer death because Eve wasn't meant to be the counselor and mediator with God. She was not divinely equipped to do so, and God had never even trained her! Eve spoke out of turn and look where her advice got her... and us!

Iffy: God inspires me when I counsel.

Frank: You are to test what you say by scripture. Does the Bible say anywhere that what you just advised as his will? I think not!

Iffy: I'm getting out of here! I can't take any more of this criticism!!!

Frank: Just as I thought! There are two ways to respond to scripture: either accept it and change or rebel. Most people reject God's word even when they know it's right. It's just so much easier to do what's right in ones' own eyes! Oh, here comes the victim... er, I mean the person she counseled. Hi Nona. May I call you that?

Nona: Yes, that works.

Frank: You seem forlorn. Are things not going well for you?

Nona: I'm doing better. Iffy helped me out.

Frank: Are you sure she helped?

Nona: What do you mean by that?

Frank: I think you told me that you are a Christian. Well, Iffy told me that she and some of her friends have been advising you. Well, Iffy means well, but is is not qualified and knows little of scripture, but the others aren't even Christians! Why in the world would you listen to people who don't even profess Christ? Especially, those whose own lives are a mess! Are you asking for failure?

Nona: They're my friends!

Frank: Being in the garage doesn't make a person a car. These people want you to fail just as they have failed. That may not be in their conscience, but it's there at any rate. People want to feel better than others and to do that is to bring others down below their own level.

Nona: But they're agreeing with what I want to do!

Frank: We're not to do what is "right in our own eyes", but seek God's will. God's will doesn't come from the unsaved. If you listen to them, you'll all share the same destiny. They'll hate you in hell and you'll hate them.

Nona: But if I do what I want to do, God will forgive me!

Frank: God forgives those who are sincere. Sincere Christians don't sin in rebellion thinking that God is a genie who grants every wish. It doesn't work when our M.O. is to think "God, forgive me for what I'm about to do!"

Nona: But things have been tough. I've got to have refuge from stress!

Frank: True, people need relief, but relief is not coming from where you're headed!  God says:

Philippians 4:6 (ESV) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) "Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

Frank: Are you turning away from God or are you seeking his help? Have you made promises which you're not keeping? He won't help you if you're doing wrong! When you seek help, it must be to do what he wills, and if you seek his help you WILL make it through!  Where people go wrong is when they disobey! I know. I've been there! Only peace can be obtained through God. If you don't do his will, only more stress and destruction is forthcoming!

Nona: I just don't know what to do! I just can't stand this any longer!

Frank: Read this:
James 4:4 "You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud,  but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."
Nona: I'm stubborn at times. I still want to do it my way!!!

Frank: That's between you and God. I can only tell you his will for you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Two Trees-Two Gods - Two Books (Part 3: Two Books)

Two people had the opportunity to stand under two trees in the Garden of Eden. These two trees were symbolically, which god they were going to serve. It's not that they would serve one and not the other, but they were fickle. Their desire was to serve two gods. And why do you suppose that the First Commandment, written in stone, was "Thou shalt have no other gods besides me"?  It wasn't that God was abandoned, but that Adam and Eve wanted to serve two gods:
Matthew 6:24  "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Mammon is "Confidence in oneself" or "the deification of wealth". My contention, which I've mentioned before, is that there were three things offered by the serpent from "The Other Tree": pleasure, knowledge and wealth. The "wealth" comes from the opportunity to eat the food of gods (i.e., the wealthy). Adam and Eve were pining to be Epicureans who desired rich food.

"The Other Tree" was serving another Master. No where does scripture say that Adam and Eve chose one master over another. They merely tried to serve two masters. People today still endeavor to serve God and the flesh.
Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Therefore my contention is that mankind has always tried to serve two gods. Adam and Eve stood under the wrong tree; "The Other Tree". Imagine, if you will, how alone Jesus ("The Tree of Life") felt when he told his creation, "You can eat of my tree, but not of the other tree.", but then his creation stood there under "The Other Tree" and ate of the fruit that kills! They could surely see "The Tree of Life" from their vantage point in the center of the garden, and "The Tree of Life" could see them, but they went with "The Other God"; the "god besides God"!

With that said, when God told Adam "Don't eat of that other tree", he was giving The First Commandment "Thou shalt have no other Gods besides me"! It's saying the same thing!

What else is it saying? "I am God, love me by doing what I say". This is from:
John 14:15  "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
The recurring theme from Genesis 2 onward is just that! If you love God show him your love by obedience to his will!

This summarizes "two trees" and "two gods". What about "The Two Books"?

Part 3: Two Books: The Book of Life:

For this I refer the reader to my blog topic Legacies written June 3, 2015. I'll repeat a portion here.

We still try to serve two gods. Paul explains this:
Romans 7:19 "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."
Adam and Eve wanted to serve God, but they wanted pleasure, knowledge and wealth as well. Hence, Paul's problem was the same one which Adam brought sin into the world. Truly, "there is nothing new under the sun"!

We have two sets of "things": "good things" and "evil things". To go along with the two sets of "things" we have "two books" at the "Great White Throne Judgement":
Revelation 20:11 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Actually, The Book of Life was "another book" , but the first book goes unnamed. I call it "The Other Book". As we live "things" are written in the books. I may have previously erred in my commentary, however: "Good things" will be written in the Book of Life along with the name of the disciple of Christ. "Evil things" will be written in "The Other Book" along with the name of the person who stood under "The Other Tree"; the sinner who never sought forgiveness. All will be judged according to Revelation 20:13. "Judging" has two outcomes: guilty and innocent. (Those ignorant are judged "guilty" because they never sought truth). The innocent will stand before God as well. What a great day that will be! "Well done, good and faithful servant", I have forgotten all your sins! Those will have their name remain in The Book of Life!

Part 3: Two Books: The Other Book:

Now for "The Other Book". What goes in there? All the evil which has not been covered by the blood. Jesus checks every act and declares:
Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Yes, that does sound like it's everybody because "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), but that Romans 3:24 goes on to say " Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"! Those who are redeemed shall have their sins forgiven and forgotten. Jesus, a little tongue in cheek" will say "don't be afraid Christian son because my memory fails me. The blood covered all those sins that you're remembering!"

There are two books. Everybody is in The Book of Life because it's God's will that all shall have eternal life.
 John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Let's see how many "whosoever" is! That's anyone and everyone who believes. God is an "equal opportunity" God, but he doesn't guarantee "equal outcomes". The "thing" people do is one: believeth! That one "thing" is the key to having your name written in The Book of Life!

Everybody starts out with their name in The Book of Life. God's grace covers "original sin". Babies who die will get their reward. However, those who die will have their name crossed out:
Revelation 3:5 "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

Yes, "Two Trees-Two Gods-Two Books"! Unfortunately there were many other trees in Eden as well! Not much is said about them, but they are the trees so many were standing under that they failed to stand under "The Tree of Life". No, they weren't disobedient as was Adam and Eve for they tried their hardest to obey! They missed one thing: If they loved God they would stand under his tree, but instead they stood under the unmentioned trees; The Laws and regulations that enslave! Yes, those under The Law worked hard to serve God by not eating of "The Other Tree", but they were so preoccupied with the forest that they didn't see that alone "Tree of Life" desiring nothing, but to be loved! Adam's job was to tend to the Garden. He failed to tend to the "good tree" in the Garden, "The Tree of Life". Jesus was standing there all along, but most failed to see him.

This is the "mystery of Christ"! Now it's no longer a mystery. Paul spoke of that mystery.
Ephesians 3:1 "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"
Do you see the mystery revealed?

  • From the beginning salvation was by belief in Jesus all along!
  • That salvation is for all mankind!
  • That salvation was always by grace!
  • And that mankind was ignorant of "the mystery" until Jesus came.
  • My note: (The patriarchs understood grace, Jesus and that it was for all because "The Word" spoke to them).
I've written of The Old Testament where Jesus was "a shadow" and two-dimensional. I have written of the Books of Matthew, Mark and Luke where Jesus was revealed from three perspectives, this providing a 3-D portrait of Jesus, and I've written of The Book of John where the mystery of Christ is finally revealed; Jesus in 4-D!

What more can be revealed! 4-D is inside and out! One additional perspective is revealed by Paul who creates a hologram because Jesus was made flesh. Paul wrote of Jesus after he was gone, but Jesus left a replacement. He left the Holy Spirit.

Yes, John wrote of this Holy Spirit which would substitute for Jesus!
John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John portrayed Jesus in 4-D, but he knew more was coming. All of Paul's writings were of Jesus in holographic detail. A hologram projects an image into space using images from thousands of perspectives! While the Holy Ghost is not a hologram , Paul's writings of the Holy Ghost project an image of Jesus which can be seen, but not clearly. He's not a physical presence, but a spiritual one. He's just as real because he's here. He's Jesus' stand-in!
Acts 2:2 " And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
Finally, we can see all aspects of God from all perspectives:

  • The Father is unseen, although he is omnipresent and can be "seen" indirectly in everything everywhere.
  • We saw "The Word" and "The Angel of God", both "shadows of Jesus the Messiah".
  • We saw Jesus in 3-D, from the perspectives of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
  • The "mystery of Christ" was revealed by John. Jesus made 4-D.
  • The prophecy of the Holy Ghost was spoken by John; Jesus' stand-in. Jesus in holography.
  • The coming of the Holy Ghost who remains here. Jesus' presence,which a hologram symbolizes!
There is one disclaimer! These representations are symbolic. Jesus is real in body and Spirit and a physical man was crucified on the cross. He was God and man! A real Holy Ghost, although unseen, but his presence is felt by all Christians, remains with us! The shadow (2-D), 3-D, 4-D and holograms are mere symbolism to get across "the mystery of Christ"!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Two Trees-Two Gods - Two Books (Part 2 ; Two Gods)

Part 2: Two Gods: The One True God

Don't misinterpret my capitalization.  There is only one God!

The One God is confirmed here:
Ephesians 4:6 "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Christianity and Judaism is monotheistic. They believe in One God. Likewise, Islam claims one God as well, but Islam is the one of the major monotheistic religions which rejects Jesus Christ as God and Savior. However, since Judaism has already rejected Jesus, then most people suppose that they do not believe in Jesus Christ.
Mark 12:10  "And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:"
First off one should ask "Where in scripture is this written?" The answer is "in The Old Testament":
Psalm 118:22 "The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner."
Scripture is referring to Jesus Christ because in Ephesians 1:20 he's referred to as "the cornerstone".

The builders (the Jews) refused the Cornerstone. It was prophecy that they would reject him on whom the church was built. However, as we see Jesus, Jews still merely look at the horizon, because they still believe he is coming. There are Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith: Here is the twelfth of them:
12. The belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.
Yes, the Jewish people still believe in the Messiah and when he comes again theologians  interpret that the 144,000 who will turn to Jesus are of the Hebrew faith. Furthermore, many theologians accept that Judaism reflects a belief in The Holy Spirit. (Principle 6):
6. The belief that G-d communicates with man through prophecy.
This  isn't full-fledged "power of The Holy Ghost" from Acts Chapter 1, but it does indicate that the scholars of Judaism does credit God with communicating with man and it's through prophecy. In order to receive prophecy it was necessary for the patriarchs to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. As such, I claim that Judaism is trinitarian in doctrine as is Christianity! In fact, I'll go one step further: Christianity preceded Judaism and the patriarchs worshiped God and communed with Jesus Christ both through pre-incarnate appearances and by spiritual means. Judaism is a sect of Christianity, but is apostate in that it rejects what has already been; the Cornerstone!

Most Christians believe in "the trinity'. This is the concept of three personalities of God in One God. Most used "three persons' to describe the trinity, but that seems confusing! God is One Person with three distinct personalities!

Let me digress for awhile on the God of The Old Testament.   Don't get me wrong; he is the same God as in The New Testament, but viewed through different eyes! Let's look at Jesus in the eyes of the patriarchs!

Figure #1: The Word the Shadow of Jesus

Very simply God the Father just IS! He IS Light, Truth and so forth. "The Word" is the personality of God who is the messenger to mankind. In Genesis we find him right there "judging" and offering "mercy":
Genesis 3:8  "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden."
I submit that "the voice of the Lord God" was and is Jesus! Why not just say Jesus? Because he had yet to be incarnate. As such, "The Word" foreshadows Jesus. From the beginning Christ was the focal point for salvation because he was and still is "the presence" of God.

If a light is shined and there is no matter, if one looks toward the light, they cannot see because of it's brilliance. This light is what the Hebrews call "Shekinah" and is the glory of God. I have symbolized it as the sun in Figure 1. We cannot look directly at the sun for any length of time before our retina would be impaired so badly as to be blinded. It's not death, but blindness here is symbolic of death!
John 1:18a "No man hath seen God at any time..." from the conversation with Moses:
 Exodus 33:20 "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live."
Hence, no one has seen God the Father either in patriarchal times nor in the gospel era. He is there!
Psalm 57:5  "Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth."
"God's glory"  is repeated throughout scripture. What is it? It's a feeble attempt to describe his magnificence and presence. Beyond that  our goal is to find "God's Glory" and it can only be found in what we call Paradise or Heaven, but it's "the kingdom of God". Right now that glory shines as it did in Eden. We feel it's presence and see it in nature, but if we saw it in its full power, no man could live!

We can't look right at God's light because of its glory. The rays can be seen, but before they can be, there must be matter. Visible light is reflected off particles in the air, and to see light rays there must be a creation. If I shine a light in a vacuum and stand squarely away from its rays, I can see the light. It isn't the direct light I see, but the reflection of it off the matter in the air. The light is invisible from this position, but we know it's there because what God made reveals his light to mankind! The Holy Spirit is represented by the sun's rays reflected to mankind in the physical world. We see the glory of God from our earthly vantage point because we are looking at it through the lenses of God's creation!
Hebrews 10:1 "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things..."
This verse is potent!  The Law is The Pentateuch.  It's the first five books of what Christians call The Bible.  These books describe the creation, sin, standards for knowing what sin is, worship, history, and for the discerning even more. Within these five books lies salvation and prophecy, but to see those things takes meditation. We must not only read God's word, but ask for and await the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

Hebrews 10:1 calls "the law" "a shadow" of "good things to come".  What I tell people to do when they are reading The Old Testament is to ask "What's this got to do with Jesus?" That's what is meant by "good things to come". The Law is the story of Jesus and his grace and is concealed from those who doubt by "not being the very image of the things", but merely a shadow. This shadow is "the mystery of Christ"!
Romans 16:24  "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"
In Romans Paul explains the "shadow". It was a mystery about Christ. Not only that, but the commandments were a "shadow" for the obedience to God for "the grace of our Lord Jesus".

 Three-dimensional images throw two-dimensional shadows. Hence, it it wasn't a physical Jesus who appeared, but a 2-D image that appeared to mankind to represent Christ. "The Word" could take on many forms, most often "The Angel of Light". An angel is a messenger. The Word was the messenger. Hence, The Angel of God was "The Messenger", and with that many theologians believe that The Angel of God is the pre-incarnate Jesus!

 The 'shadow" is not only about Jesus, but about his grace. Consequently, the dispensation of grace was always the way to salvation and salvation was always through Jesus Christ. In this era we believe that Jesus died as a propitiation for our sins. In patriarchal days, they believed that Jesus would soon come for one purpose: of dying for the sins of man! We believe in what happened; they believed through hope. Which does it take more faith? Obviously, the answer it takes more faith to believe that something will happen than it does to believe it did happen!

The standard of that faith is mentioned by Paul:
Romans 4:16  "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all..."
Galatians 3:7  "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."
 In essence Abraham, just as we are, was not under The Law, but under the dispensation of grace! It was not by obedience to rules that he received "the promise", but by faith he received grace. He did what God willed, but he did those things to show God that he loved him! When God gave him instructions, it was "The Word" doing the talking. It was "The Voice" of Jesus who explained the "why"  as to sacrifice  "his only begotten son"! Abraham knew why he was obedient and did it by faith. Therefore, the standard of measurement of faith for us all is compared to "the faith of Abraham" because he had faith in what had yet to be done! When God provided to Abraham the ram for the sacrifice, that substitution for Isaac was a shadow of Christ's substitution for us! (It is believed that Mt. Moriah is the identical hill of cavalry!)

Shadows have the shape of the original. The shadow of Christ is more than a uniform ellipse. The shadow of Christ appeared as a man, as a burning bush, a cloud, and a priestly person. His shadow was of many forms, but they were all a shadow of God in the flesh (matter)!

Part of the mystery of Christ, is that salvation not only is by grace through faith, but it is for ALL mankind, not just the Hebrews!
Colossians 1:27  "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"
 Romans 16:25  "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began..."
Jesus came to fulfill the mystery. He said so! Paul revealed the mystery. Salvation was about grace all along and it was all about Christ from the time the world began! It was "kept secret" to most, but the patriarchs understood because "The Word" told them all about it! The Old Testament is an Autobiography of Jesus" written in future tense!

When someone writes an autobiography they are writing a story of their own life. When one writes about themselves before it happens, it's called what? A plan!
Jeremiah 29:11( ESV) "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
When the Lord "declares" it's "The Word" speaking! "The Word" as plans for each of us and that plan is "to give us a future and a hope"!

All the "keeping of The Law" which was done by obedience, for those who "The Word" spoke, knew it was to show love to Jesus for his grace! The commandments were not for salvation, but as a standard of measurement of love. Are we obligated to keep The Ten Commandments today?  Only if we desire to show God how much we love him! It's the same as it was then. God is unchanging! Compare:
Exodus 20:6  "And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."
John 14:21  "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
Always "commandments" were a method of showing "love" . It's the only way we have to do that! Those patriarchs who kept the commandments were the ones who saw Jesus because Jesus said "I will love him, and manifest myself to him." Nothing has changed! If you want to see Jesus and beget his love, obey his will!

Let's now look at the key to the "mystery of Christ". It's found in John Chapter 1, but before we discuss what they key to the key to the mystery is, let's look at the structure of the gospel message.

Three of the gospels, the story of Jesus, were written by three different individuals: The Book of Matthew was written by Matthew, a tax collector; Mark was written by Mark (some say John Mark), a friend of Peter's; and Luke was written by Luke, a physician.  These three books are called synoptic gospels. Three people wrote of the savior Jesus providing a general view of Jesus and his purpose. (We'll look at the Book of John shortly). The occupation of Mark is not known, but we have an average "Joe", a tax collector and a doctor describing Jesus and his ministry from the perspective of who they were.  The writings of the three on the same topic made the whole. Thus, these three gospels are synoptic. Much of the time they tell the exact story from three different perspectives!

Figure #2: Three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark & Luke

Please excuse the symbol library. No dishonor is intended. However, the world is in 3-D as far as what meets the eye. A fourth dimension may be the spiritual world, but that's a topic for another time. In the real world there is latitude, longtitude and elevation. People from different coordinates see the same things from a different perspective. In Figure 2 Matthew, Mark and Luke tell of Jesus and his life from different viewpoints. All viewpoints are real and as such are truth, but the focus can either be on the same or different traits of Jesus because different personalities look at different things.

The "gospel" is the telling of Jesus' life and the ideas Jesus came to share. All three gospels are about Jesus and the three form the whole, thus being synoptic. Synoptic means "seen together" and as such form the whole. Since the whole forms a 3-D image, it's all there. These three gospels parallel each other in that the tell the same story in most cases. We don't know for sure if Matthew, Mark, and Luke witnessed all these things, but they did tell of them! Even with synoptic gospels only three views of the Son is formed. There are three other views unexplored!

The Book of John adds another dimension!
John 21:24 "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true."
John's account is from an eyewitness to the events described. Most theologians credit the the apostle John and the apostle "who Jesus loved" as the writer. This is the same John who wrote the Book of Revelation and was exceptionally divinely inspired, not that the others weren't, but because Jesus revealed so much more to John!

In addition John was very familiar with Jerusalem and the area where Jesus ministered. He was also closest to Jesus from an emotional standpoint. John was no ordinary man and we learn much more from him than we do the others. I personally believe that Jesus shared a intimate knowledge with his friend and John tells the story. Some believe that John added to his personal biography the knowledge of others, and in doing so provided a fourth dimension to the gospels!
Figure #3: Jesus in 4-D

With the three synoptic gospels we have a "real" 3-D Jesus, but with the gospel of John we see Jesus from a multi-point perspective whether by first hand or by testimony from others. New light is shared from the Book of John not found in the others! We see a 4-D Jesus! Because it's more comprehensive and looks at Jesus from many perspectives, most preachers encourage new readers to read it first.

I'm of the opinion that "the mystery of Christ" (aka, the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19) is best revealed by John, especially in the first chapter!
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
John with his 4-D vision of Jesus was the first to share "the mystery of Christ"! These passages are a full picture of whom the "shadow" in The Old Testament is!  Moses told of a 2-D Jesus; Matthew, Mark and Luke of a 3-D Jesus, but John describes a 4-D Jesus! He certainly validates of whom he's speaking when he said "the Word was made flesh". That voice in the wilderness and the man who wrote scripture was called Jesus. He is God before he was made flesh!

It's being "a mystery" can be seen from "the darkness comprehended him not". Jesus was the Light because he was God and his existence could be seen from the shadow he cast on the world. However, there was also a shadow of darkness (to be shown shortly) which concealed the man who was to be Jesus.

We also see that The Word was "the light of men". The patriarchs believed in The Word and recognized him as the Messiah. The Word spoke to Moses, Abraham and the prophets and revealed the mystery to them and they in turn wrote the mystery, but to most it was concealed in darkness. Those who saw the Light were inspired to have faith in Jesus before Jesus even was ever born, but was there in spirit!

John also said:
John 4:24 "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John also said "The Word was God"! As such "The Word" was a Spirit. Throughout The Old Testament the Spirit of God, Jesus, was right there with the patriarchs giving them his autobiography to write! Let's call "The Word" "Emmanuel", because Jesus was called that and as such, the name applies for all the ages. Emmanuel revealed the secret to the prophets, the secret was written there for all to see, but because of darkness, few saw the mystery revealed.  When Jesus came the "mystery of Christ" was revealed to John by Jesus himself!

John wrote of John the Baptist. John was born before Jesus, but yet he said "He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me." John the Baptist validated that Jesus WAS ALWAYS before he was born. That's part of "the mystery of Christ"!

Jesus made all things! He was the architect of the world. If Jesus can create by grace, he can surely save by grace! Yes, it was an act of grace that we were blessed with our being!

Jesus gave Life. This is past tense! We think of Jesus of giving his Life two-thousand or so years ago. He gave Life at the Creation! When Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, he was created in "their image". He had spirit, a soul to contain it and he had Life! Inert matter was transformed into a creature with lifeblood. As Jesus is the one who gave us Life through our circulatory and respiratory systems, Life is given for eternity by the blood. Jesus' blood made man and Jesus' blood can save man.

Emmanuel was "the Light of men" and "the light shineth in darkness". Light is truth. In this case it's the truth about "The Word". It's his Light that would save the world. That Jesus is Light and always was is part of "the mystery of Christ"! The Father is the source of that Light. However, let's look at an analogy.

If we look back at Figure 1 we can see that the light source which is the Father is so intense that man cannot look upon it because of it's glory!  If the sun (or an intense light source) is shined directly in your eyes, you must close them because the light is so intense that it can harm. With God, his glory is so intense that it can actually kill.

If an observer stands to the side of an intense light source in a perfect vacuum where there is no contamination, light rays cannot be seen. Before one can see light rays, there must be matter from which light is reflected and meted out to the eye. The intensity is reduced and man can see the light without harm. This is the purpose of The Word! When the world was created (matter) God allowed Jesus, represented by the rays of the sun, to be reflected into the world so that all mankind could see. Jesus is that Light we see in the world still today!

Light is pure. It's only matter which contaminates it. Jesus is truth and although we see light reflected off matter (in the world), the Light is still true and for the world! Jesus is the Light of the world, and always was!

Light consists of photons. Their luminescence is what we see! They are active and move with great speed. Those photons are symbolic of the Holy Spirit. We can't see them, but they're there! They can be seen through a special technique. If we look toward Jesus the Holy Spirit is manifested.
Luke 4:1 "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit..."
In The Old Testament times, Jesus was yet to be physical. He was still in this world in Spirit, but at most times he could not be seen.  For those with whom The Word spoke, they were given special powers by the Spirit to see things unseen. That's faith! The Word, represented by a body in Figure 1, stood between God's glory and the world. Light shined on The Word and cast a shadow on the world. That "shadow" represents Jesus. His presence has been here since the creation, and John testified to that!

Because Jesus the Light was a shadow when darkness is there, the shadow is obscured and "the darkness comprehended him not". (I'll discuss that "darkness in the next section).

And then John revealing totally "the mystery of Christ" said "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us"! It's clear who was made flesh. He's speaking of the miraculous birth of Jesus. The Spirit of God was given a body just like ours... or is that the case? No! God has foreknowledge. God had a plan! He created us in "their image". Men were created in the image of what The Word would look like when the plan was fulfilled! How prideful to think that Jesus looks like us. It's us that were copied after Jesus!

Guess what John also revealed? "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ"! Moses gave The Law, but Jesus gave grace and truth! My contention is that salvation was always by grace and that truth is what The Word gave to the patriarchs. They understood from The Word himself that it wasn't The Law which saves, but grace granted by faith!

It appears that Paul was speaking to those who were under The Law (apostles and prophets) when he said this:
Ephesians 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Those who were dead under The Law, Jesus gave Life. Paul speaks of "times past" and "the ages to come" and past tense, then spoke of grace and Christ Jesus. This proclamation is that it was never obedience to The Law which saved, even in times past, but by faith in the coming Christ, and his grace! In times past it wasn't obedience which saved, but grace which saved through faith!  Mankind was always under "The Dispensation of Grace"!

Now let's look at "Other Gods".

Part 2: Two Gods: Other God:

We must face the music! There are other gods in addition to JHWH whose name is "I AM". JHWH is the tetragrammaton for the Hebrew for God's name. There are variations in which letters are used, but for the most part, this is where the name "Jehovah" arises. Because God just IS and has ALWAYS been "I AM" is very fitting. What I believe is that God is too magnificent to be "called" any name because he just IS! I base this on The New Testament which says God is CALLED "Jesus" and is CALLED "Emmanuel". In other words, God is without name until he is given one at his birth. All other names are feeble attempts to quantify by naming one who is without bounds!

A note on what Jesus said about himself when walking on water:
Matthew 14:27 (Disciples Literal New Testament; DLNT) "But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take-courage, I am the One. Do not be afraid.”
Who then did Jesus say he was? "I AM". He said that because Jesus IS God!

Who then are the "other gods"? God specifically said:
Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before (or besides) me."
What are those other gods? There are more than one for sure!
 Romans 9:8a "That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God:"
The first God is mentioned last in this passage. God is Spirit! Those who follow God are "children of God" and Jehovah is what he's called. Who then is the god of "children of the flesh"? It's simple. Who of this world has flesh? Animals, and most notably human animals. Out god is "The Self". "But", you say, "that is only one other god!" Not true. Each of us have our own "Self" as god and there are billions of gods. When we worship images of other gods, we're doing what we want to do! We're all satisfying "The Self".

As I've written before, "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil", what I call "The Other Tree", offered what satisfies the Self:: pleasure, knowledge and high living (wealth).  Wealth comes from the tree being "good for food" when God already supplied good food. They wanted Epicurean food; the food of the wealthy!

In truth people don't worship the sun, stars, moon, graven images or anything other than The Self because by worshiping objects they are doing what's right in their own eyes! This logic is called "reason". After eating of the "Other Tree" man had reason and as such could rationalize any type of disobedience!

Here's a confirmation on my contention:
Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
The Spirit is God! The flesh is contrary to the Spirit. Hence, it's God against "the flesh", the flesh being "the other gods" besides him, or the population's "Selfs".
Figure #4: Shadows of Evil
"The Word" exists between God and the world. He is our mediator. He speaks for God and takes back to God what we say to him! Guess, who else does that?
1 Timothy 2:5  "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"
Christ is Greek for "The Messiah" in Hebrew coming from The Old Testament. Christ and Messiah are the same title!  The mediator is Jesus and he was such as Messiah and as Christ. Nothing changed between patriarchal and apostolic times!

As demonstrated earlier in Figure 1, The Old Testament projects a picture of The Word, or Messiah, onto the earth; A 3-D Jesus is seen in The Old Testament in 2-D and it took strong faith to look toward the Light and recognize Jesus there in "The Word". That was revealed in John Chapter 1.  All scripture is "all about Jesus". We just need to open our eyes and reveal that 3-D image from what is written in 2-D language.

There are other shadows in scripture as well! Satan goes "to and fro" in the world casting a smaller shadow, but he and his angels get around enough that black and white are turned into shades of gray. Satan casts a gray shadow and rides a gray horse!
Revelation 6:8a "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth..."
If we look at the text from The Book of Job we see Satan who had been going "to and fro" (Job 1:7)  in the earth.  God gave unto him some power, not to kill the body, but to kill the Spirit of Job. Satan, I believe rides the pale gray horse and those who fall under his power die and go to Hell! This "pale horse" in Revelation can be found in Genesis as "the serpent" and other places as "the beautiful angel Lucifer".  Just as "The Word" can appear as "The Angel of God", Melchizedek, a burning bush, etc. Satan can appear in different forms as well. However, Jesus casts one shadow hard to see without the Light, but Satan casts a pale, or gray, shadow.

Oftentimes the shadow of Satan passes between God and The Word or between The Word and us, and is totally concealed. He's able to present himself as "good" because he has shades of gray and is hidden from those who have little faith in God. He did that in patriarchal times and he does it now!

Satan is not "another god" besides God. He's a weak angel. He's the deceiver who tricks us, not into abandoning God, but to idolize our Self. Never give Satan "god worthiness". He's a weak pretender to the throne! Jesus is King of the Universe and Satan is a mere prince for a time in this world. He's a power grabber, but Revelation tells that God grants him only limited power!

We have looked at two trees and now two (G)(g)ods. The cross represents what the flesh can fashion. I don't believe that we should hold the cross in high esteem. It's the emptiness of the cross which should be dear to Christians. Christ is no longer on that alter made by hands. He sits on a spiritual throne next to the Father and lives!

Another set of trees are "The Tree of Life" and "The Other Tree", the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". Both are trees created by God, but  the former represents Jesus while the latter represents "The Other gods" or "The Self" where reason trumps the Spirit.

Next we'll look at "two books". One is for children of the "Tree of Life" and the other for "The Other Tree". That book is called "The Other Book". The next installment will look at the "The Two Books".

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day 2015

I think of my own father this weekend and how great he was. His shoes will never fit me. However, I think selfishly of what I want for “Father's Day 2015”:

I want my own to love me as I did mine.
Because I loved my own just fine!
That's the love I want from my three.
I want their love to ever be!

I want that they should not wait,
until my soul enters Heaven's Gate.
I want that now should be the time,
that ring they will my own door chime.

I want that they should visit now.
rather than wait 'til time most foul!
I want that they should hug me tight,
to hug me with all their loving might!

I want that when they think of Dad,
that they want to see me really bad!
I desire that they be, not as I have been,
and never to write with poison pen.

I want them to be pure of heart.
My desire is that they be really smart.
Never to repeat the mistakes I've made,
but do the deeds which angels bade.

My dream is now almost over.
I dreamed of streams and fields of clover.
I floated down rivers of peace,
thinking things to really please.

My journey now is near complete.
With other father's I don't compete.
But of my children I often think,
although not here, there is a link.

All together we will always be.
They with each other and they with me!
The common blood in all our veins,
flows that love which never wanes!

On Father's Day I've got my gift.
Children I fathered without a shrift.
I got my gift when they were born!

Roses of life each without a thorn!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Two Trees-Two Gods - Two Books (Part 1 ; Two Trees)

Part I: Two Trees - Tree 1

The Bible is the viewmaster through which we view the Master! (Me, 7/7/2005).

Let's now view that Master!

What do you see here?

Fig 1:What do you see?

This is a simple drawing. It's interesting to ask anyone "What do you see in the drawing?" I know much of what people see because I see the same thing with my own eyes and with what I've been taught! Here are some of those things:
  • A cross of wood.
  • Jesus nailed to the cross.
  • Jesus' sad face.
  • Maybe some nails.
  • A banner over his head.
Face it, that's about all the eye can see!

The most introspective may not "see" with their eyes, but are taught that there are things unseen as well:
  • Jesus dying for mankind.
  • The blood spilled for all our sins.
  • Cavalry.
  • A King.
  • Agony.
  • An innocent man.
  • A physical man.
  • Aloneness.
  • Death.
What else is there to see? We "think in the box" and what I describe is "boxed" thinking.  God is not anyone to "put in a box". He is God! As an example, it seems that with Paul, God's grace was irresistible; but with scripture "free will" is taught. I believe that God can do with each of us whatever he pleases. He's not a Calvinist nor an Armenian, but IS divine. Divinity has certain attributes the created don't have. They make the rules and man merely tries to understand them! 

There is "secret knowledge" about God, but that knowledge isn't gnostic in nature. However, the humble accept Jesus at face value because he tells us what to do and we obey! That's simplicity in the hope of salvation. It's easy and even the ignorant believe as little children. Society tells us that mostly poor ignorant people still believe in God and that's mostly true, because we're
not encumbered with false knowledge!

When I read scripture it's history, prophecy, poetry, counseling, government, war and doing right and wrong. The Bible is honest about it's heroes! God used imperfect, even flawed, people to demonstrate his grace. However, it occurred to me one day that scripture (and I mean The Old Testament) is all about Jesus! It had never been preached to me before and I was angry when the pieces all came together. It wasn't me that fit the pieces, but inspiration from God.

Scripture is the inspired word of God as dictated to men who were faithful. Writers imparted God's truth in written word. The inspiration came from the Holy Spirit. The topic was about grace and the hero is Jesus. Again I say "Scripture is all about Jesus!" When we read we merely receive knowledge. That's what we all have the ability to get because we (our ancestors)were disobedient. Because of that ability, we have reason. We can use knowledge to make decisions. Mostly mankind has faulty reasoning! The penalties incurred by Adam and Eve are consequences of bad reasoning.

What people have to do when they read scripture is to open themselves to the Holy Spirit. It takes the thinking out of the box. God doesn't have to do what we believe. He can do whatever he wills. He has made statements which are called "truth", but as long as he is truthful, he can do anything he pleases! When we read scripture, we need to trust God. That entails believing that he tells the truth. When we read his words, we search for truth and the best way to find out is to listen! We listen to the Holy Spirit who will direct us to further understanding of the truth.

Part I: Two Trees - Tree 2

Let's look at another photo:

Fig. 2: Just a Real Tree
What do we see here?
  • A green tree.
  • The surrounding it's in the midst of.. Looking further we see more:
  • A tree trunk.
  • Limbs
  • Leaves.
  • And probably the first thing most will see is the configuration of the branches because most trees don't look like this one. We see a cross!
What is it that's there that can't be seen? Let's look at another picture.

Fig. 3: The Entire Tree
  • This is a more "normal" tree, but let's use it anyhow. There are roots to the tree!
  • It is capable of bearing fruit
  • There is soil holding the tree in its place.
  • The tree leaves are exposed to the air. They can be seen by anyone who looks.
  • And digging deeper, we believe that there is moisture, nutrients, air and maybe even helpful grubs supporting the tree.
  • It's permanent. It can't be moved around.
  • It is natural and not man-made.
  • It's alive! Things are moving around inside the tree.
  • It makes sounds in the wind. It speaks to us!
  • Even the plainest are beautiful because of what it is.
  • It's capable of growing.
My point is this. There is more to what is there than what meets the eyes! The same is true of Scripture. We see words written in such a manner that statements are made and questions asked. Scripture has organization. However, if we only look at the words and fail to consider the message we get only the most obvious. Those who dislike reading the Bible are merely reading. They are not listening and using that new power Adam caused us to have, to consider what is read! There is much hidden in the thoughts behind the text. People fail to understand and cherish because they are merely reading words.

Fig. 4: The Natural Tree

Let's compare trees. We are the natural tree as shown in Figure 4. There is nothing special about our branches except for one thing: We are like the "Real Tree" in Figure 3., but not an exact copy! The tree in Figure 3 has unique limbs. A cross can clearly be seen because it's a special tree. This tree is one that I selected to represent  "The Tree of Life"! Within this natural tree is something which resembles a man-made tree. There is a cross than can readily be seen! In fact this tree can be hewed and what would remain as a rough-hewn cross. 

Throughout scripture "the tree of life" is symbolic of Jesus Christ. The best example is:
Revelation 2:7  "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
"Eating of the tree of life" is eating the "bread" which is done in remembrance of Jesus. It represents the body of Jesus. Therefore, when I look at the tree in Figure 2 , I see "The Tree of Life" and because of the crossed branches I see Jesus! Jesus isn't physically seen in that tree, but he's there anyway. John Chapter 1 tells all about Jesus. He was there in the beginning!
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
7 The same (John) came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..."
We see here that God was made flesh. Before he was "flesh" he was still there! He became flesh so that he could feel what mankind feels and be tempted as men are tempted!

He's a special tree, but he looks much like the tree that is ordinary.
Isaiah 53:2 "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
Jesus, according to Isaiah, was plain and not attractive, but on the other hand, Lucifer is a beautiful, but fallen angel. Because of the flesh, men are deceived by the aesthetics of the package, and fail to consider the gift therein!

 Now for a revelation! God said that man was made in "our image" (Genesis 1:26) .   Don't just read that! Listen to what is means. Who is "our" referring to? It is the Father and The Word! We were given spirit in our soul and are an image of the Father, but we too are material and are an image of Jesus. How much we worship ourselves! Jesus was not made in our image, but we were made in what God planned for Jesus to be! Ordinary men are ordinary as WAS Jesus.

Where was Jesus who was there from the beginning? He was "The Tree of Life" in the midst of the Garden! He was "The Voice" who spoke to Adam and Eve while walking in the cool of the Garden.. He was the one who took Adam and Eve's words back to God! 

When I look at the tree in Figure 2, I see Jesus! That's what I mean by looking beyond the words!

Let's look at another tree:

Fig. 5: The Empty Cross

What do you see here?
  • It's empty!
  • It is wood.
  • It has two ore more pieces.
  • It's upright.
  • It is supported somehow.
Now let's really really look closer! Use your imagination and think out of the box!
  • It's man-made. 
  • It's hewed from wood.  (Why is that significant? Exodus 20:25 "And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.")
  • It can be used for decoration... and is!
  • It can be transported.
  • It's dead.
  • It can harm a person: splinters, carrying, falling, etc.
  • It is dry. It can burn easily.
  • It can be worshiped and some do! (Isaiah 37:19 " And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.")

Fig. 6: A Man

What do we see here?
  • A man.
  • Yes, Jesus! We're trained to recognize this as Jesus although we have little notion of what he looked like.
  • Just a small piece of clothing (About the same as Adam wore! Ironic since it was Adam's fault that Jesus was on the Cross)..
  • Flesh, hair and all human attributes.
  • Thorns on his head.
Now think outside the box! What more is there?
  • God!
  • Spirit!
  • Humility/Meekness
  • Innocence
  • Agony
  • Love
  • Loneliness
  • Hope
  • Royalty (he's crowned)
  • Sacrifice
  • A servant
  • A warrior
  • A ruler
  • A judge
  • Peace
  • Redemption
  • Supernatural
  • A Messenger
  • The Angel of God
  • A wrestler
  • Protection
  • Savior
  • Death
  • Hope
  • Life
  • A cryer
  • A Tree! (The Tree of Life)!

Let's look again at Figure 1: (What do you see?) and do look again. It's Jesus on the Cross! But when eyes are opened more widely, there is so much meaning there!

For instance. Jesus' arms are outstretched. His body looks just like that tree in Fig.s 2 & 3. Yes, I know; the cross does too, but that was the plan all along! Look at for that in The Old Testament:
Psalm 22:1"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.
10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.
11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this."
Some of this should sound familiar! If I was to say "Four score and seven years ago...", need I say more? Most of us learned that by the fourth grade! The rest pops to mind, or at least the author, place, purpose and the events. It's the Gettysburg Address by President Abraham Lincoln during "The War for Southern Independence"!

Jesus said this on the cross:
Matthew 27:46 "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Any learned Jew would recognize Psalm 22 from these few words! Jesus expressing his abandonment, said it all. Whenever, we read Mathew 27:46 we need to ask "What is it that Jesus is telling mankind?" Then we read Psalm 22 and we learn so much more. This is thinking out of the box!
  • Jesus is calling on the Father. (Verse 1)
  • He feels abandonment. (Verse 1)
  • He is raging inside.  (Verse 1)
  • He's crying out (Verse 2)
  • He's not being heard (Verse 2)
  • He praises God. (Verse 3)
  • Magnifies God as Holy (Verse 3).
  • He recounts that God can be trusted (Verse 4 & 5) and that implies he trusts God!
  • His flesh is unimportant (Verse 6)
  • He is a man (Verse 6). He's physical, not a phantasm as some soon claimed!
  • And on and on. You get the idea. Now study Psalm 22 and I'll bet you see much more on that cross than you saw before!
Those outstretched arms mean so much to me! Sure, they were outstretched so that they could be nailed, but they mean so much more!
Exodus 6:6  "Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:"
In scripture, Egypt represents sin and slavery to it. In this passage God is telling Moses more than his salvation to the Hebrew people. He was telling them about Jesus. God spoke of Jesus on the cross which not only is our "hope of salvation", but was Moses' as well!  Think outside the box! God was telling Moses about Jesus on the Cross! There will be no more slavery because Jesus saves, Jesus paid the price for you even though it was you who sinned, he will do it with outstretched arms! God, or Emmanuel as he was later called, told Jesus way back then why he was to die on the cross and even that his arms would be stretched out!

What else can outstretched arms mean? It's a welcoming gesture. "Come here for love!" it says without even saying it!
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
With outstretched arms Jesus calls "Come unto me!", and he calls not just the Jews, but ALL mankind.  Furtheremore, he will give us "rest".. That's his way of saying that there is "hope in salvation" from the troubles of this life. The flesh will finally be free of it's yoke. We will no longer be slaves to sin!

This verse reveals the "mystery of Christ"! Can you spot the mystery revealed here? Then you ask "I didn't know there was a mystery. What is the 'mystery of Christ?"
Ephesians 3:1  "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
What is the "mystery of Christ"?

  1. Grace is the way to salvation. "Grace" is the economy it takes to go to heaven!
  2. In other ages men failed to know the mystery, but it is now revealed by the Spirit.
  3. That gentiles are fellow heirs of that grace.
  4. And for all men to see the mystery heretofore was hidden by God.
 Let me comment on the "mystery of Christ". Salvation was never by works. The Law  was purely a standard to follow and since nobody was capable of keeping the whole law, "works" just didn't work! The "dispensation of grace" was always the way to salvation! It's not new with the advent of Jesus, but was there from the day of creation! God demonstrated grace to Adam and Eve when they sinned, but had mercy on them. He provided a way to salvation. God's "voice" which spoke to them with the message of grace was "The Word"!

We know from John 1 that "The Word" was later made flesh and he was called "Jesus".  Since Jesus had mercy on these sinners, it was by grace that salvation was available to them!

It was by faith in Jesus that Old Testament  patriarchs were saved. Abraham was the standard of that faith, even to which we're compared:
Romans 4:16  "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all..."
Abraham was "saved by faith" in Jesus and it was by grace he was saved... just as people are now! That is the "dispensation of grace" and that has always been the way to salvation! This part of the mystery is no longer a mystery. However, most men at that time didn't know the mystery and merely endeavored to follow The Law.  Guess what? Little has changed!

Hebrews 11:13 "These (the Old Testament patriarchs) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
Our biblical fathers believed in Jesus, not from being there, but from a distance in time! What we embrace afterward, they embraced before it happened. They were persuaded that God would provide a savior and believed in him! How were they persuaded? By "The Word" himself!

The Hebrew people were God's "chosen" people and believed, and still do, that they are the only heirs of God. However, the gentiles are too! The two groups of people combined is everyone. That mystery revealed is that salvation is for all!

And lastly, the mystery was "hidden" from those who failed to have faith, but tried to enter into the kingdom of God by doing works. The Pharisees were still doing that although Jesus, the same "Voice" who spoke in the Garden, stood there speaking to them in the flesh! This "mystery of Christ" was still hidden even though he was physically right there, and it's still hidden from them because they failed to see!
Luke 16:31 " And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
The mystery was revealed to the Pharisees, but they failed to believe it! Even after Jesus rose from the dead they still failed to believe the mystery of Christ. It was he who provided salvation all along, but they just didn't believe it!

Please note here that "The Tree of Life" is symbolic of Jesus Christ if not a reference to "The Word". Then we have what I call "The Other Tree"! It is "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". Since "The Other Tree" was to impart knowledge and make men wise, even endeavoring to be as God, then I believe "The Other Tree" is "The God of Reason." Therefore, "Two Gods" will be the next installment!