TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Friend with standards

“And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken.” (Matt. 21:44). “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” (Prov. 27:6).
 
As a teenager suffering under terrible anxiety, the Lord led me to realize a powerful lesson. After nothing else I tried could resolve the anxiety, He gave me a vision. That vision said, “Christians don’t have any anxiety.” And with that nugget of wisdom came a mental picture of the perfect Christian who was also a happy Christian.
 
So, I went in search of such a Christian. But my little white clapboard church was full of church people. It seems they never knew anything different than just coming to church, and going home. They were seeking God, and might have been living up to all the light they had. But, my anxiety needed more than that.

I thought I might meet “Calvin” who my sisters had told me about when they came back from a week at the church camp, both wanting to be baptized. But, when I went to that camp the following week, Calvin was gone. In his place were silly counselors who might have done their best to be counselors, but they certainly weren’t spiritual. The week passed quickly and I got caught up in the goings-on. But when I got home and the anxiety came back, I remembered how much I had needed to meet Calvin.
 
I continued looking for the Christian I needed to heal me of anxiety, until I finally gave up and told Dad I didn’t want to go to church anymore. But, he talked me into going. That didn’t help, and I vowed that the next Sabbath I wasn’t going. He talked me into going again, and I fumed the whole way there.

That Sabbath, wonder of wonders (!), the Christian came to our church!! He had run out of money for college and came up from Tennessee to earn some more. And I almost missed the very one who I had spent a year looking for. I’m glad God is more patient with me than I am with Him.
 
I studied the Christian from afar, amazed at how he could love the Bible so much, how he could love church so much, how he could love giving his testimony and speaking with perfect diction and dressing impeccably. He even loved to sing special music. He spoke a lot of Jesus and Ellen White; and his much underlined Steps to Christ was always in his shirt pocket and brought out later to constantly teach us something of its contents.
 
Later, I could look back on that experience and analyze what created the attraction that grabbed our young hearts. Richard loved God and he loved us. He understood the science of our salvation. The youth group that suddenly sprung up was built upon that foundation, love and obedience to God, love for God and God’s Law and brotherly love.
 
Like Jesus, Richard was a friend, but more than a friend. He was a friend with standards. Subconsciously, we knew we couldn’t go wrong with that kind of friend. He was circumspect and godly, and he loved us. We could trust him perfectly because he stood for God, he was jealous for the Lord. None of the church people had his strength of consecration to God, and neither did they love us like Richard. It was obvious that real love and true consecration went together. We had living proof of it. It was very obvious.
 
Richard drew us to himself; but, the church people could take us or leave us. The church people did church and then sped home right after it was over. Richard consumed the sermons and lingered after the service ended, and then continued on with the Sabbath all day long. We would go with him to Takoma Park or campmeeting for Sabbath events, or go to the church matriarch’s house for a nice Sabbath lunch and then study the Bible together afterward. She loved to have a dozen young people in her home. She lived for it, and her home-made cooking which exemplified the health message was our first introduction to the diet of Eden. Her food was very different from what we had ever known before, and it was simple and so delicious.
 
We gave our hearts up to the Lord and He was smiling on us. We began dressing and talking and knowing the Bible like Richard. We became as happy in church, and as friendly with the church people and visitors as Richard was. Soon, the church had a full-blown home-grown revival. It wasn’t just a lot of preaching; it was love for God’s word. It was like heaven on earth. Hungry people came from miles away and the church got packed. Other churches took note and wanted to know how we did it.
 
The Lord did it.

The Lord gave Richard the right upbringing and then put him through a difficult experience before drying up his college fund. The Lord put the anxiety in me after watching a clean-cut sit-com, so that a suspenseful or scary movie couldn’t claim the cause of my anxiety. The Lord put that youth group and church revival together. And the foundation of the whole revival was friendship and standards.
 
A friend with standards. Not just a friend, but loving friendship and consecration to the Lord’s high standards.
 
The world offered all of us lots of school and neighborhood friends. But, they didn’t know God and didn’t care to. We could trust them and have some fun with them. But the fun didn’t satisfy. We thought it satisfied, until we saw something better, something more satisfying. Jesus in Richard.
 
The church offered standards. But, the church people didn’t know Jesus, and didn’t seem to care to. We could respect the church people, and listen to them. But their circumspect lives didn’t satisfy. We came to church because our parents made us come. We were living in Nazareth, out of which no good thing could come, except wounds and bruises and putrefying sores in the heart. And if it didn’t get fixed, it would become the habitation of demons, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
 
Then something more satisfying came. The combination of both worlds, the good friend and the high standards, someone who knew God, someone who had the Holy Spirit, not just pretending to. The distinction between the heart full of the Spirit of Christ and the heart empty of Him was plainly revealed.
 
We didn’t know Jesus, but we were trying to. Yet, we knew Richard. That would not be the best, but it would suffice the Lord for then. The Lord knew we wanted Him, but didn’t have the faith to come to Him. Richard, compared to Jesus, was like the Moon compared with the Sun. To us the Moon looks the same size as the Sun because it is 400 times closer, but 400 times smaller. Richard was 400 times closer to us than Jesus, even if Jesus was 400 times bigger and brighter than Richard. Jesus is the source of all light. Our brightness comes only as a reflection of His light. While Richard reflected much light from Jesus, “he was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” (Jn. 1:8). Jesus “was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (Jn. 1:9). “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (Jn. 1:4).
 
Nevertheless as the Sun to the Moon, in the same similitude as Richard, Jesus is also a true friend with standards, since love and Law are the only true foundation. But Christ’s foundation was infinitely stronger than Richard’s could ever be. Richard’s ardor for Jesus and for us was stronger than anyone’s around us. We had never seen anything like it before. But Jesus’ ardor was much greater. Richard was anointed with the Spirit of God; but Jesus was the anointed One, “the Messiah the Prince.” (Dan. 9:25). “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” (Jn. 3:34). Richard was a living soul, but Jesus is a quickening Spirit.
 
The world has had its great teachers, men of giant intellect and wonderful research, men whose utterances have stimulated thought, and opened to view vast fields of knowledge; and these men have been honored as guides and benefactors of their race. But there is One who stands higher than they. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:12, 18. We can trace the line of the world’s great teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars of the solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world’s great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gem of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world. Desire of Ages, p. 465.
 
Jesus had come to spend a quiet hour by the waterside. In the early morning He hoped for a little season of rest from the multitude that followed Him day after day. But soon the people began to gather about Him. Their numbers rapidly increased, so that He was pressed upon all sides. Meanwhile the disciples had come to land. In order to escape the pressure of the multitude, Jesus stepped into Peter’s boat, and bade him pull out a little from the shore. Here Jesus could be better seen and heard by all, and from the boat He taught the multitude on the beach.
What a scene was this for angels to contemplate; their glorious Commander, sitting in a fisherman’s boat, swayed to and fro by the restless waves, and proclaiming the good news of salvation to the listening throng that were pressing down to the water’s edge! He who was the Honored of heaven was declaring the great things of His kingdom in the open air, to the common people. Yet He could have had no more fitting scene for His labors. The lake, the mountains, the spreading fields, the sunlight flooding the earth, all furnished objects to illustrate His lessons and impress them upon the mind. And no lesson of Christ’s fell fruitless. Every message from His lips came to some soul as the word of eternal life.
Every moment added to the multitude upon the shore. Aged men leaning upon their staffs, hardy peasants from the hills, fishermen from their toil on the lake, merchants and rabbis, the rich and learned, old and young, bringing their sick and suffering ones, pressed to hear the words of the divine Teacher. To such scenes as this the prophets had looked forward, and they wrote:
 
“The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali,
Toward the sea, beyond Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
The people which sat in darkness
Saw a great light,
And to them which sat in the region and shadow of death,
To them did light spring up.” R. V.
Desire of Ages, p. 245.
 
We caught a glimpse of the past glories during that time while Richard stayed with us. But, as the Moon grows bright and ebbs away, so the time came for Richard to go back to college. Then everything went dark again. But, this was all in God’s order.
 
We needed a brighter light. Jesus had given us the lesser light in Richard, and we had opened our hearts wide to Him through Richard. Now our faith needed to be tested and prepared for a greater dispensation of light directly from heaven. We needed to see Jesus, not Richard, as the true Light that lighteneth every man. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12). We needed the closest friend of all, the greatest Friend with the greatest standards—omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” (1Jn. 2:8).
 
Later, we ran from the Lord, but He followed us. We had given our hearts wholly to Him by giving them to His servant Richard, and our covenant was with Him. Now He would keep His claims on us, even if the devil claimed us. Like the children of Israel, His promise remained that He would never leave us nor forsake us, but bring us back safe and sound again in His Advent movement, to await His return in power and glory.
 
We might shut the door to Him, but His door remained open to us. We might try to get ourselves lost from Him. But His eye was always upon us; and still is. We gave our hearts to Him; and He doesn’t take that lightly. “For strong is the Lord God who judgeth” (Rev. 18:8) the devil.
 
“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation.
God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
O God, when Thou wentest forth before Thy people, when Thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:
The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby Thou didst confirm Thine inheritance, when it was weary.
Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: Thou, O God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor.
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.…
Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.
But God shall wound the head of His enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.” (Ps. 68:5-11,18-21).
 
In Him are the issues of life and death, of government and peace, of mercy and justice. With Him it is never justice without mercy; and never mercy without justice. “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6).
 
In Him is the rock hard Friend with rock hard standards. He is a Friend who will bring us higher, not take us down. He will attach our hearts to His and then to His Father’s Law. Thus, He is our Savior. He is the powerful vitamin that opens the cellular door for the glucose, water, and oxygen of God’s Law to enter for strength and energy and power.
 
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder:… Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isa. 9:6,7).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sin and cockroaches (this post may contain offensive thoughts)

Many heavenly lessons reside in the creation of Earth. There is much to learn from the creepy creeping things.
 
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” (Gen. 1:24-27).
 
Adam’s race, God’s crowning act of creation on this world, was given power over everything.
 
“For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with power glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Ps. 8:5-8).
 
Thus, Adam, made in God’s image, represented God, specifically God the Father. And Eve represented the Son of God who begat and has nurtured the whole family of heaven and Earth. As Eve was taken from a rib near Adam’s heart, so did God take His only begotten Son out from His bosom.
 
As Eve was made in Adam’s image when she was begotten from Adam and was the mother of a race, so the Son “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.” (Col. 1:15-19).
 
Man, Adam and Eve (Genesis 5:2), prefiguring the Godhead, reigned over the Earth, as the Godhead reigns over Their universe. That is, until sin robbed man of his dominion. Sin brought us down into the muck of self-exaltation, self-love, self-indulgence, and to accusation and condemnation of others. We have crawled around in that filth ever since.
 
“What mean ye that ye beat My people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.
In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
The rings, and nose jewels,
The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.
Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.
And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.” (Isa. 3:15-26).
 
Before the Lord destroyed the Israelites by the Assyrians, He made clear through Isaiah their offensiveness to Him. Sin is an offense to God, in all of its forms; and He must destroy it. He can’t stomach it in any part of His kingdom. But, before He destroys sin He will make a great call to come out of it.
 
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).
 
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (Rev. 18:1-8).
 
But 2,000 years before God can make the final call to come away from sin, He must send His favorite, Beloved to make the redemption offering for their sinfulness. “A body hast Thou prepared Me.” (Heb. 10:5). Michael, the Prince, must become one like “the son of man.” (Eze. 2:6, cf Dan. 7:13).
 
“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the [“curse of the” (Gal. 3:13)] law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 4:3-5).
 
Nothing is more detestable than the destruction of the image of God in man by mixing his genes with the lower creations. This caused the destruction of the anteluvian world by the Noahic flood.
 
“If there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before him. He would not suffer them to live out the days of their natural life, which would be hundreds of years.” 1SP 69.
 
“Every species of animals which God had created was preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood, there has been amalgamation of man and beast.” 1SP 78.
 
“Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: and the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” (Lev. 18:23-25).
 
And the same base crime will cause the world’s destruction again by fire. Genetically modified chemistry is moving into the realm of this very pestilence from the anteluvian world. Under a pretext of benefiting the world with newer, stronger human organs, or vain visual improvements, the great deceiver is pushing the science of genetics closer to the uncertain fields of transgenics.
 
Michael taught the children of Israel to hold the creeping things in revulsion. Except for the vegetarian locust, they were never to eat the insects or even to touch them lest they be defiled. These creatures were designed to control disease by consuming the dead things of the world. They crawled around in filth, and ate filth for food.
 
“And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Lev. 11:41-45).
 
“These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind.” (vs. 29).
 
“And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.” (Deut. 14:19).
 
“Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath; the soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water.” (Lev. 22:5,6).
 
Unclean objects of worship caused the people’s minds to feed on filthy insects and rodents and seafood.
 
“They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst eating swing’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.” (Isa. 66:17).


“And He said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they [the Levical priests] do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.” (Eze. 8:9,10).
 
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Rom. 1:23).
 
“And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto Him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to Him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” (Acts 10:11-14).
 
Is there a lesson of eternal ramifications in the creation of the filthy creeping things? I think of the cockroach. Nothing can be more detestable. Yuck! They crawl around in filth, and then invade our living space, bringing their scum with them. They leave a trail of excrement wherever they go. They are extremely bold, coming right up onto the dinner table if they are extremely hungry. And they are more subtle than any insect in the house. I’ve even had one out-maneuver my attempt to trap it in a corner and rid it of my home. I swung from the right, it went to the left and disappeared into thin air.
 
I’ve bombed my place with cans of pesticide, yet the cockroaches survived underneath objects and behind pictures hanging on the walls. I’ve pondered if the only way to destroy them is to burn down my home. But, I wonder if after all my great personal loss, they would still survive. To me, they are the epitome of everything abhorrent.
 
I can’t think of a better physical representation of sin than the cockroach. Surely, teaching that lesson is one reason for their creation! Therefore, they just as much represent sinful mankind in God’s sight. We are filthy. “The heart is...desperately wicked.” (Jer. 17:9). We see no problem with crawling around among habits of the spiritually dead and having a lifestyle of living death. We play with temptation. We parley with the tempter. We have the propensity to handle sin in all its aspects.
 
And what does God think of all that? Infinite and utter abomination. God can’t be tempted with sin because to an infinite degree He foewsaw its wreckage to His children and their loss of eternal life with Him. Therefore He has absolute zero tolerance for it. He will forgive sinners, but He will never forgive sin. He will excuse every humbled and repentant sinner; but He can make no excuses for sin. He hates it with an infinitely perfect passion. And He had this disposition before sin ever came to be, even before its first dawning in Lucifer’s heart.
 
Thus, I conclude that God creating the cockroach was His object lesson to mankind for showing His abhorrence of sin, for a warning to Adam and Eve before temptation should come, and certainly for an exhortation against sin after they fell. As Adam and Eve would loathe roaches, He used roaches to teach them to loathe sin.
 
But, this leads to another conclusion. And I don’t mean that God sees us His children as worthless and detestable; but He does see sin as bankrupt of all value. We must have infinite value in God’s heart since He risked eternally losing His only begotten Son on the cross in order to keep us. His Son who has infinite value. So, I don’t want to completely offend anyone, but an extension of that last thought brings me to the incarnation of Christ into filthy human flesh. It could explain the infinite wrath of God upon His Son’s human form in Gethsemane until Golgotha due to Son’s attachment to us who have departed from His Father’s perfection, in preference for living in sin.

How painful was it for God to incarnate His beautiful, glorious, omnipresent, omniscient Son into inglorious, fallen human flesh, bound for a lifetime object of animosity, and then an ignominious death? The Son’s incarnation must have been the greatest horror and wonder of the angelic hosts. How much abhorrence for His Son’s incarnation into sinful humanity required infinite, infinite grace from God, and then some? We have little appreciation for Christ’s self sacrifice from loss of His original, glorious, infinitely  divine nature, body, soul, and Spirit. How can we? We have never seen it or experienced it. We can’t experience it in all of its extreme supernatural aspects. But, we have something earthly that will help us comprehend a little of the infinite sacrifice of both God and His Son in that permanent change.

Just for our conception of it, can’t we liken Christ’s eternal divine form incarnated into corrupted human flesh to the mixing of human genes and cockroach genes? Couldn’t the incarnation of God into human flesh resemble putting your own child permanently to sleep and then amalgamating your child’s genes with a filthy cockroach in order to reproduce your child in that gross form? Would you ever do that? Would you ever have a cockroach for a child? Would you love your child no less, knowing that part of it had his character traits? How much sacrifice would that require of you? Would you still love that offspring of a cockroach? Would you raise him for saving other cockroaches? Yet, this is what God did so that He could renew His identification with His beloved Adamic race, and reconcile the holy angelic hosts and unfallen worlds to the filthy children of Earth. The Son’s amalgamation would also show us His strong desire to feel our plight in an evil world and win us back to Him.
 
God “hath made [His Son] to be sin for us.” (2Cor. 5:21). Oh! What an utterly horrible thought to the angels! But, might our abhorrence of amalgamating a human and a roach hardly even compare to the unspeakable agony and self-sacrifice that God must have had when the blessed love of His womb, His infinite Son, became finite, housed in a filthy human tabernacle, born into the corruption of a violent, imperialistic world, and growing up among wretched religious fundamentalists who were the habitation of demons and the hold of every foul spirit? Can’t we get a sense of the sacrifice that the Father made when He gave us His Son, forever to bear our human frame? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (Jn. 3:16).
 
Jesus, who “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8).
 
Is it no wonder that when God was finally able to destroy sin when He would destroy His Only begotten that He could heap such tonnage of spiritual plasma to utterly extirpate abominable sin, root and branch. Isn’t it grace in all of its infinitude that He crushed the blessed Son of His own bosom who couldn’t be deterred from forever remaining one with our wretched race that crawls in sewage? The Son became a human shield for a world of gross self-indulgence. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (Jn. 3:14). He made Himself a human lightning rod for God’s revulsion upon Himself to shield a race of abominable, full-blooded cockroaches and to take away their filthiness. I can hear many a Judas crying out, “To what purpose is this waste?” (Matt. 26:8). No doubt there was a hushed horror among the unfallen universe. 
 
“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. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Jn. 3:15-18).
 
“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” “when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” (2Cor. 5:21; Isa. 4:4).
 
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11).
 
“Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa. 53:12).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Adam, Job, Johnny, and the Godhead

“God cannot be tempted with evil.” (Jas. 1:13).
 
The envy of Lucifer drove him to destroy God however he could. But, God stood for perfect righteousness. His example was nothing but holy. Godliness streamed from His every word and act, and through His godliness He was a hedge of protection around His kingdom. All of this Lucifer bristled over.
 
One accusation of Lucifer’s was, Who can please the infinite One? Who can perfectly obey the impeccable Law of God? No one can keep its sky-high standard perfectly as God requires. No one can willingly keep every aspect of the Law. And the wages of rebellion is extinction. Therefore, God is unjust to require perfect obedience.
 
Then, he raised another issue. Can the Law of His kingdom withstand the most extreme test? Could God ever be tempted to depart from the standard He set up? Can God be tempted? And can His hedge of protection surrounding His children be breached? Can they be tempted.
 
“How will Lucifer destroy God? His reputation, that’s how I will do it. I will attack His trust in the hearts of His creation. I will turn them all against Him. He will have to destroy them all, including Lucifer. He will be left with none of His precious children. Then, let’s see what God will do. I will tempt God. God can be tempted.”
 
So, after the war in heaven, and the expulsion of Satan and his loyalists, the Godhead went to create a world and people it to prove that God’s will can be obeyed perfectly. Adam and Eve came forth from His power beaming with loyalty to Him. Daily, their unbiased minds and hearts poured forth the rivers of living water that the Lord God was continually instilling in them. Having no connection with the controversy that had affected all heaven, neither loving Lucifer nor hating him, the holy couple found their only pleasure in obeying God. Satan was worsted in his war against God’s government of justice and mercy.
 
But, there was yet the need to overcome Lucifer’s second accusation. Adam was perfect because he was shielded from temptation. Nobody can leave God’s will when they are compelled to stay. The incentives are too good. Could God’s wall of protection that empowered His precious children withstand a test? Once His protection were breached in their heart, would His children fall to temptation? Then, if they did fall into sin, what would God do in the emergency? He would have to destroy them and then what? He would be tempted to hate a tempter.
 
Knowing this accusation, the Lord God planted a tree right in the middle of their garden home, which would be the point upon which they could be tested to sin against Him. But, near it in the middle of their home was a tree representative of His high and holy standard. Day by day they trusted in their Creator and chose to remain loyal to God and eat of the tree of life. Daily those little tests were strengthening their will in preparation for the big test.
 
Finally, the hard test came. Out of the blue, the tempter appeared. The element of surprise is the best offense and the hardest to defend against. Speaking through the most beautiful creation of the animal kingdom, he whispered his temptations and eroded all suspicion.









“Now the serpent…said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1).
 
“Thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.” (Isa. 29:4). 
A familiar spirit, congenial and cordial, speaking in calm, friendly tones and flattering Eve, shook her into its acceptance and curiosity, and out of communion with God. After all the blessedness of the garden, Eve fell victim to temptation. Now she would be sent to her husband as an angel of death.
 
Adam was more prepared for temptation than his wife, Eve, who being of the two, “the weaker vessel.” (1Pet. 3:7). He had not wandered close to the forbidden tree. He kept his distance, in the fear of God. Yet, when Eve came to him, he had no barriers toward her. Love had bound them in a tight bond. No wall divided their souls. Vulnerability had always been their key to trust. But, once Eve entered Adam’s inner space, he instantly saw that a great change had come over her. Her normal calm, rested, holy character was more carefree and careless. She had a new bubbly, unguarded behavior sent red flags and abhorrence all through his thoughts. Like thunder and lightning her disobedience shook him.
 
He was immediately forced to weigh between the continued obedience he had ever chosen, or death with his beloved wife and eternal friend. “My sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled” (Song 5:2), what have you done? “Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low.” (Jdg. 11:35). There he teetered, remembering all the precious communion with the God of love, and beholding his most precious earthly companion and gift from his Creator. The moment of truth crushed down upon Adam. This must mean Eve’s death. Should he throw his loyalty for Lucifer in order to keep his precious dove? Should he forego every pleasant gift from the hand of the Lord, by rejecting the Giver of those gifts?
 
Should he walk by faith and not by sight? Should he trust God to somehow turn this nightmare into a blessing? Or would he keep his rebel wife, the crowning beauty of his world? Should he join her in rebellion against his God of love?
 
Her beauty and memories of their love disarmed his resolution against disobedience. He fell under the spell of Satan’s newest puppet.
 
The Job account gives us the clearest picture respecting the issues of perfect obedience while the divine wall of protection, Christ’s robe of righteousness, surrounds His children.
 
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isa. 61:10). “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24).
 
“Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” (Job  1:9-11).
 
What would Job do when all the signs and wonders of his blessed life were removed? When all the evidence of God’s acceptance should leave, would Job continue to trust Him? Job’s half-hearted spouse immediately fell to the loss of her dearest earthly treasures, and became the agent of Satan to destroy her husband’s possession of the divine nature. “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.” (Job  2:9).
 
Eventually, Job relied upon himself, his works, his great morality and circumspect life. He was tempted, and fell to temptation. The Lord was in no way forbearing toward Job’s failure.

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” (Job  38:1-4).
 
But, God is the progenitor of grace. When Job heard the word of God, he relented and repented. And the Lord forgave him and restored his wonderful life.
 
Why did the Lord thunder against Job? Because, like Adam, Job was raised up before the world around him as one whom God could keep from falling. The Lord paraded Job all around the land, showing the rewards to having a relationship with the God of love. Like Mordecai’s reward from King Artaxerxes, Job was honored by the King of heaven.
 
“For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: and let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.” (Esth. 6:7-9).
 
God wants to fill our lives with perfect happiness. But He also knows that sometimes He must take away His earthly blessings to increase our happiness. And He will use His adversary, through his evil temptations, to enhance that pruning work.
 
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (Jn. 15:1,2).
 
God purposed for Job to reveal Himself to the world. In the midst of pain and suffering, he was to succeed where Adam failed. Would he finally choose perfect faithfulness to his Creator after teetering on the precipice of temptation? Would he throw his whole battered hope onto God’s promises? He should have, thus providing the world a revelation of God who was in the throws of the great controversy in the heavenly courts.
 
My friend, Johnny McKinley, faced his own Adam and Job temptation. God had won his heart and rescued him from the world of drug addiction in southeast Washington, D.C. The years following found him daily reveling in the goodness of God toward him, rehearsing that deliverance, and encouraging others in the power and love of God. Daily he grew in grace and in a knowledge of God and His righteousness. Daily, the good things of life were restored to him, and he stood as the story of success in Christ.
 
But, the day came for him to be tested. Providence put a $10,000 check in his hand and then allowed the devil to recreate the scene in the Garden of Eden. The 16 year old son of his love, in whom he had invested his whole heart, was brought into question. Johnny’s resentful ex-wife called him and told him that his son was not really his. Pain, acknowledgment that this was probably true, disappointment, offense, rage against this aggravated assault, swirled around his mind. He put the phone down, looked at the $10,000 check, remembered the instantaneous relief drugs had given him in the past, and almost threw away the past years of salvation from that world of sin.
 
Should he? Would he? Could he go back to the old life? Should he throw away the grace of God?  But, at the point of most intense decision-making, the lyrics of a hymn, which had popped into his mind earlier during his daily devotions and had cheered him all that morning until the fatal phone call came, resurfaced themselves in his mind. The words recalled his intellect, reaffirmed his conscience, and strengthened him in that terrible ordeal. Satan’s temptation to return to the life of drugs had pulled ever so powerfully, but the hand of a gracious God prevailed over the tempter. That test hardened Johnny’s trust in God. He passed the test; with Abraham he was sealed in faith. Of Johnny Jesus says, “He ‘rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (Jn. 8:56).
 
Yet, this powerful story and all other trials pale in comparison to the greatest of all trials, of which they are all a lesser, shadowy figure.
 
There was Christ, trembling under the inescapable evil of Satan’s presence. “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:37-39).
 
His Father having made Him to be the personification of sin and the object of His infinite hatred of it, separated Himself from His beloved Son, and left the door wide for Lucifer to tempt Him.
 
Now for his prized possession! If he could lead the unprotected Messiah to abandon the redemption of His most precious race, he could win the debate against God’s Law and His government. He could bring God and His goody-goody children down from their exalted place. Righteousness would cease to have its glory.
 
The pressure of complete absence of His Father’s Spirit, which He had enjoyed without measure, now tortured the Son of God without measure. All the chastisement of our peace was upon His head. Wracked with mental and emotional pain, in His troubled mind He tasted death for Adam in the garden and for every son of Adam who should face and who might yet face the decision to do God’s will at all cost.
 
The stress of tasting the ultimate destruction of hell, magnified to the 10 billionth degree, began the offering of His soul for every man’s rescue from the final judgment. He must receive the hell for every soul, in order to each to have hope should any of them heed His Spirit’s voice and turn away from sin. Despite the mass squandering of this provision the next day in Israel and during the whole story of human experience, historically and in the future, Jesus must accept upon Himself the eternal death of every soul. Blinding depression, confusion of face, darkness filled His being. Worthlessness, feeling unloved, utter lostness, forsakenness and forgottenness, dissolved the internal organs of His solid, strong constitution. “Many were [astonished] at Thee; His [appearance] was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Isa. 52:14).
 
Every day, every moment of His life He had prepared for this hour. Obedience to every law of health and life had produced a perfected specimen of the fallen human race. His fallen human nature never overcame the divine nature from His Father, but ever remained subjected and bound in concession to the stronghold of His Father’s rock-hard righteousness and self-sacrificing love.
 
Yet, now, He could feel no sense of His reward. He could sense nothing of His beloved Father. Alone in enemy territory. Though surrounded by the children of His yearning, even the best loved Him from a divided heart, but most people just ignorantly accepted the confusing lies of the deceiver against His gift of peace with God through repentance and renunciation of sin.
 
“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).
 
“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Knowing His Father’s willingness to immediately dispatch His angelic hosts and deliver Him from the overload of wrath to spare them the day of judgment, only added to His temptation. Should He give them up? “Father, must We destroy this contemptible race of miscreants? Are they too much for Me to save? I came to help them, but ‘every one of them doth curse Me’ (Jer. 15:10). Even My closest friends don’t want to stay awake during My greatest need for their encouragement.” But, not a word of response from above to help decide whether or not to go on with the plan. All alone, except for the “great love wherewith He loved us,” (Eph. 2:4); alone, except for the memories of souls reclaimed and struggling against sin; alone, except for the memorized written word of God. Love, memories, and scripture were His only companions in the Garden of Gethsemane. Alone in the dark with doubts and recriminations of priest, Pharisees, and rabble, all mixing with the agony of His Father’s infinite, seemingly permanent retribution left Him bleary eyed and unable to stand.
 
Love and mercy for His begotten race carried Him through the emptiness and helplessness and weakness. Divine Love was the victory. Love for a world that didn’t love Him. Where selfishness abounded, mercy and self-sacrificing Love much more abounded toward them. Jesus decided to go on with the plan of salvation which He had studied and rehearsed with His Father since the beginning of time. Everyone who had been saved could have eternal salvation. Christ’s decision did not lessen the darkness or the agony, but it strengthened Him to go through with the crucifixion. And He remained resolved to take our place until shock carried Him down into death.
 
“The Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory” The Great Controversy, p. 213.
 
“So shall He sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” (Isa. 52:15).
 
Everyone who will go through their Gethsemane, teeter on the brink of decision and temptation, and come through it in favor of the kingdom of God, will join with Jesus at His Father’s right hand. No one else qualifies for eternal life. Will they accept redemption from sin? Will they wrestle with God against the enemy of everything good? Will they survive the hour of temptation? Will they win a crown of life because they are faithful until death.
 
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.” (Jas. 1:12).
 
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1Pet. 1:4).
 
Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide.
Oh, receive my soul at last!

Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me!
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call,
Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo, I sink, I faint, I fall;
Lo, on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope, I stand,
Dying, and behold, I live!

Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find.
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name;
I am all unrighteousness,
False and full of sin I am;
Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin.
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the Fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jesus the burn victim

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Gen. 22:2).
 
“But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Heb. 10:12).
 
Jesus was our burn victim. Then, He was beaten.
 
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:5-7).
 
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish.” (Lev. 1:2-10).
“And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.” (Lev. 4:33).
 
Jesus, the Son of God, is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. But, that body, mind, and soul are wrapped in scar tissue.
 
He was the red heifer.

“And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: and the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.... And he that gathered the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourned among them, for a statute for ever.” (Num. 19:5,6,10).
 
He was the great red heifer, burnt to ashes under the complete wrath of God against our sin. He was “full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of thy God.” (Isa. 51:20). His whole body sweat great drops of blood. He was full of wrath from God. “From the sole of [His] foot even unto [His] head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” (Isa. 1:6). “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” (Ex. 12:8).
 
“This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: and ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face.” (Num. 19:2,3).
 
“...one shall slay her before His face.” Was the Father watching when His Son poured out His soul on the cross? Yes, He forced Himself to watch His Son’s incineration under His divine wrath against sin, because He needed to die in the process. The Father needed to take part in the death to the sin experiment, together with His onlooking universe. He saw Satan’s taking full advantage of the Prince’s moment of greatest weakness. The anointed One was slain before His Father’s face, and we also slew His Anointed. We slew and burnt Them both; but we see only the Son burnt because He was the fullness of the Godhead manifested. His burning soul was the fullness, the fullest representation, of the Godhead.
 
But, this was necessary for the sinner’s atonement. “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb. 2:10,11).
 
The Father can’t look upon us and not see sin. But, He could devise a plan to bring us back to His sight.
 
“For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him.” (2Sam. 14:14). His plan is to look away from our sin filled bodies, minds, and souls, and look upon His Son. Only in His Son does He see a Spirit of His Spirit, and also He sees His Son in the flesh of our flesh. The Father sees His Son's body wrapped in scar tissue because He was willing to accept the fires of total hell upon Himself. The Father can only look at a child of Adam if it has suffered the wages of sin, which is eternal extinction. Thus, sin is put away from the empire. But, in His infinite wisdom, He made His only Begotten human and then unloaded His torrential hatred of sin upon His Beloved. “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” (2Cor. 5:21).
 
But, for any redemption to be completed, we must also look upon that burn victim. We must see a Man burned over his whole body, mind, and soul. Then our arrogant sin will be squelched, forever stifled and extirpated. We will hate sin with a perfect hatred and rid ourselves of it. “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor. 5:21).
 
The cross has an offense no less than the animal sacrificial offering did. It was the determined act of killing, and that of an innocent animal who knew nothing of the sin it was dying for. Does God hate sin that much? Does He also hate sinners? No, He doesn't hate sinners; but He hates the way sin completely alters the mind and heart and character of His perfect creations. Yet, even if He loves His children, He will destroy His ruined creations as He has destroyed them in the past.
 
He destroyed His strong antediluvian race.
 
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.” (Gen. 6:5-7).
 
He cut off the descendents of the man after His own heart, David whose name means Beloved.
 
“And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.” (Eze. 21:25-27).
 
He razed the city of His resting place while staying with us, Jerusalem and the gleaming white temple.
 
“Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers. I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.” (Eze. 21:14,15).
 
“Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these [lying words].
For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
But go ye now unto My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel.
And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by My name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.” (Jer. 7:4-15).
 
Does God hate sin? He hates it so much that He will one day obliterate it. That future obliteration was signified by the red heifer and all of the Old Testament burnt offerings. But, Satan is so taken back by that disposition of God toward his wicked works, that he riles up every sinner who is proud in his lukewarm morality. The whole religion of Wicca is such a proud, lukewarm morality. And not surprisingly, it detests the Bible and all of its substitutionary sacrifices. Papal Christianity is another institution that hates the daily sacrifice (Dan. 8:11), that is, the death of Christ and His constant heavenly presentation of His death as He mediates before His Father. The Papacy sought for 1260 years to reinstate the old, cold, lifeless image of that sacrifice and to burn people instead, people who trusted in the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lamb of God because He was taking away their sins, its guilt and its power over them.
 
Yes, God will destroy sin and every sinner who determinedly refuses to seek divine help for the remedy of sin. But, before He would bring utter retribution against sinners, He would give them a respite from that eternal death. He would deviate all of His just wrath against sinners, landing it all upon His Son. He valued Adam’s children more than His own beloved Son, who had infinitely bound Himself to His Father’s heart. God had more love for the human race than He had for His only begotten Son.
 
After all that He did to the charred Son of His bosom, whose childlike soul is forever affected by the knowledge of infinite wrath that He had never known in His Father, everyone who disdains His offer of forgiveness and salvation from hell will be deserving of that fate. But, just before that fate comes, He will give the world one last opportunity to learn about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
 
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).
 
The world will vividly, inescapably, witness the character of Jesus in His people, their words, their preaching, and their lives. This will be God’s last call to a world of sinners. It will be Noah’s last yearning appeal before entering the ark and the door going shut.
 
“And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” (Gen. 7:15,16).
 
The burden of the ark was shut in; and simultaneously, the wicked were shut out.
 
Such a waste! For 120 years Noah did and said everything he could to turn people away from rebellion to the voice of God’s Spirit and to invite them into the safety of the ark. That was 120 years of the Spirit of Jesus striving with them.
 
“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3).
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1Pet. 3:18-20).
 
But, Jesus would only destroy the world by water after offering them His grace. And He could only offer His grace because He would have all of that destruction fall on Him one day. In short, God could only destroy because He was first destroyed. He was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).
 
Jesus must be our sacrificial burn victim, slain for our sakes, then He received back again with His Father, and standing before Him to ever make perpetual intercession for us.
 
“And one shall say unto Him, what are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.” (Zech. 13:6).

We have a Friend for a mediator before God.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inheriting a new name and a new life

“And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place [Egypt]. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.… The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Gen. 48:8,9,16).
 
Of all the grandchildren of Jacob, only Ephraim and Manasseh took the name of Jacob, instead of their father’s name. Now they were called Ephraim the son of Jacob and Manasseh the son of Jacob, rather than Ephraim the son of Joseph and Manasseh the son of Joseph.
 
Why did Jacob do this? I believe Jacob was following the dictates of the Holy Spirit when he did it. It taught a great spiritual truth. They were now sons of heaven. They were sons of God. Jacob, newly named Israel, was the namesake of a new institution of fighting “the good fight of faith” (1Tim. 6:12). His name spoke of everyone who, until the end of time, will wrestle with the issues of sin and salvation, and overcome. They may initially fight against the humbling of heaven, but they eventually give in and surrender to it, and receive the redemption from the divine touch of God.
 
Because of Jacob’s surrendering to the Angel, that Angel Michael redeemed him from all evil that night. No more separated heart from the God of love. No more harassment by the adversary, Satan.
 
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” (Heb. 10:22).
“Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:18).
 
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 10:16,17).
 
Redemption, how I love to proclaim it. Redemption by the blood of the Lamb. His child and forever I am.
 
This was the lesson of calling Ephraim and Manasseh by Israel’s name. And they became heads of the 12 tribes of Israel, each tribe representing a throne of the elders that surround God’s holy mountain. The elders spoken of in Revelation are the archetype, the model of the Israelite patriarchs and apostles from whom descended the church of God from days of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. All of their descendents were named after them. “Now there was a man of Benjamin…” (1Sam. 9:1). “Ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28).
 
“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” (Gen. 5:1,2). Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the human race. Every human born was named after their name of Adam.
 
But, all that was lost in Adam was redeemed under the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and they became sons of God. Until the Messiah came. Then, all that was lost in Adam was redeemed in Christ. And His redemption surpassed the redemption in Israel. “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.” (2Cor. 3:10,11).
 
Now, everyone redeemed is given the name of God and His dear Son. Sons of God in Christ. All who surrender to His mighty humbling are no longer named after their earthly father. They no longer live by the traditions of their earthly elders.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.” (1Pet. 1:18).

God is their Father now, even as Israel became the father of Ephraim and Manasseh. All who are redeemed by the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), are His children. They answer to Him and His Spirit.
 
“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1Jn. 3:19-22).
 
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Rom. 8:31-34).
 
This freedom is not a doctrine that must be brainwashed into new cult members. This freedom comes as common sense, a naturally drawn conclusion that loyalty should go to the Master who set the soul free from sin and guilt and shame. When the soul renounces self and bows its pride to the great Prince and Saviour, Christ Jesus, the spontaneous result is the strongest attachment, a heart to heart oneness with heaven. Earth no longer has the binding attraction that it had before. Christ has won the allegiance of another soul, and he is called by His name.
 
“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer. 15:16).
 
“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 hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (Rev. 2:17).
 
“Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given Me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Isa. 8:18).