The Life That Can Pray by Andrew Murray

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Taken from the book “The Ministry of Intercession”

CHAPTER V

The Life that can Pray

If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”—John xv. 7.

“The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working.”—James v. 16.

“Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; and whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”—1 John iii. 21, 22.

 

HERE on earth the influence of one who asks a favour for others depends entirely on his character, and the relationship he bears to him with whom he is interceding. It is what he is that gives weight to what he asks. It is no otherwise with God. Our power in prayer depends upon our life. Where our life is right we shall know how to pray so as to please God, and prayer will secure the answer. The texts quoted above all point in this direction. “If ye abide in Me,” our Lord says, ye shall ask, and it shall be done unto you. It is the prayer of a righteous man, according to James, that availeth much. We receive whatsoever we ask, John says, because we obey and please God. All lack of power to pray aright and perseveringly, all lack of power in prayer with God, points to some lack in the Christian life. It is as we learn to live the life that pleases God, that God will give what we ask. Let us learn from our Lord Jesus, in the parable of the vine, what the healthy, vigorous life is that may ask and receive what it will. Hear His voice, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” And again at the close of the parable: “Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He may give it you.”

And what is now, according to the parable, the life that one must lead to bear fruit, and then ask and receive what we will? What is it we are to be or do, that will enable us to pray as we should, and to receive what we ask? The answer is in one word: it is the branch-life that gives power for prayer. We are branches of Christ, the Living Vine. We must simply live like branches, and abide in Christ, then we shall ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us.

We all know what a branch is, and what its essential characteristic. It is simply a growth of the vine, produced by it and appointed to bear fruit. It has only one reason of existence; it is there at the bidding of the vine, that through it the vine may bear and ripen its precious fruit. Just as the vine only and solely and wholly lives to produce the sap that makes the grape, so the branch has no other aim and object but this alone, to receive that sap and bear the grape. Its only work is to serve the vine, that through it the vine may do its work.

And the believer, the branch of Christ the Heavenly Vine, is it to be understood that he is as literally, as exclusively, to live only that Christ may bear fruit through him? Is it meant that true Christian as a branch is to be just as absorbed in and devoted to the work of bearing fruit to the glory of God as Christ the Vine was on earth, and is now in heaven? This, and nothing less, is indeed what is meant. It is to such that the unlimited prayer promises of the parable are given. It is the branch-life, existing solely for the Vine, that will have the power to pray aright. With our life abiding in Him, and His words abiding, kept and obeyed, in our heart and life, transmuted into our very being, there will be the grace to pray aright, and the faith to receive the whatsoever we will.

Do let us connect the two things, and take them both in their simple, literal truth, and their infinite, divine grandeur. The promises of our Lord’s farewell discourse, with their wonderful six-fold repetition of the unlimited, anything, whatsoever (John xiv. 13, 14; xv. 7, 16; xvi. 23, 24), appear to us altogether too large to be taken literally, and they are qualified down to meet our human ideas of what appears seemly. It is because we separate them from that life of absolute and unlimited devotion to Christ’s service to which they were given. God’s covenant is ever: Give all and take all. He that is willing to be wholly branch, and nothing but branch, who is ready to place himself absolutely at the disposal of Jesus the Vine of God, to bear His fruit through him, and to live every moment only for Him, will receive a Divine liberty to claim Christ’s whatsoever in all its fulness, and a Divine wisdom and humility to use it aright. He will live and pray, and claim the Father’s promises, even as Christ did, only for God’s glory in the salvation of men. He will use his boldness in prayer only with a view to power in intercession, and getting men blessed. The unlimited devotion of the branch-life to fruitbearing, and the unlimited access to the treasures of the Vine life, are inseparable. It is the life abiding wholly in Christ that can pray the effectual prayer in the name of Christ.

Just think for a moment of the men of prayer in Scripture, and see in them what the life was that could pray in such power. We spoke of Abraham as intercessor. What gave Him such boldness? He knew that God had chosen and called him away from his home and people to walk before Him, that all nations might be blessed in him. He knew that he had obeyed, and forsaken all for God. Implicit obedience, to the very sacrifice of his son, was the law of his life. He did what God asked: he dared trust God to do what he asked. We spoke of Moses as intercessor. He too had forsaken all for God, “counting the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt.” He lived at God’s disposal: “as a servant he was faithful in all His house.” How often it is written of him, “According to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did he.” No wonder that he was very bold: his heart was right with God: he knew God would hear him. No less true is this of Elijah, the man who stood up to plead for the Lord God of Israel. The man who is ready to risk all for God can count upon God to do all for him.

It is as men live that they pray. It is the life that prays. It is the life that, with whole-hearted devotion, gives up all for God and to God, that can claim all from God. Our God longs exceedingly to prove Himself the Faithful God and Mighty Helper of His people. He only waits for hearts wholly turned from the world to Himself, and open to receive His gifts. The man who loses all will find all; he dare ask and take it. The branch that only and truly lives abiding in Christ, the Heavenly Vine, entirely given up, like Christ, to bear fruit in the salvation of men, and has His words taken up into and abiding in its life, may and dare ask what it will—it shall be done. And where we have not yet attained to that full devotion to which our Lord had trained His disciples, and cannot equal them in their power of prayer, we may, nevertheless, take courage in remembering that, even in the lower stages of the Christian life, every new onward step in the striving after the perfect branch-life, and every surrender to live for others in intercession, will be met from above by a corresponding liberty to draw nigh with greater boldness, and expect larger answers. The more we pray, and the more conscious we become of our unfitness to pray in power, the more we shall be urged and helped to press on towards the secret of power in prayer—a life abiding in Christ entirely at His disposal.

And if any are asking, with somewhat of a despair of attainment, what the reason may be of the failure in this blessed branch-life, so simple and yet so mighty, and how they can come to it, let me point them to one of the most precious lessons of the parable of the Vine. It is one that is all too little noticed. Jesus spake, “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman.” We have not only Himself, the glorified Son of God, in His divine fulness, out of whose fulness of life and grace we can draw,—this is very wonderful,—but there is something more blessed still. We have the Father, as the Husbandman, watching over our abiding in the Vine, over our growth and fruitbearing. It is not left to our faith or our faithfulness to maintain our union with Christ: the God, who is the Father of Christ, and who united us with Him,—God Himself will see to it that the branch is what it should be, will enable us to bring forth just the fruit we were appointed to bear. Hear what Christ said of this, “Every branch that beareth fruit, He cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit.” More fruit is what the Father seeks; more fruit is what the Father will Himself provide. It is for this that He, as the Vinedresser, cleanses the branches.

Just think a moment what this means. It is said that of all fruitbearing plants on earth there is none that produces fruit so full of spirit, from which spirit can be so abundantly distilled, as the vine. And of all fruitbearing plants there is none that is so ready to run into wild wood, and for which pruning and cleansing are so indispensable. The one great work that a vinedresser has to do for the branch every year is to prune it. Other plants can for a time dispense with it, and yet bear fruit: the vine must have it. And so the one thing the branch that desires to abide in Christ and bring forth much fruit, and to be able to ask whatsoever it will, must do, is to trust in and yield itself to this Divine cleansing. What is it that the vinedresser cuts away with his pruning-knife? Nothing but the wood that the branch has produced—true, honest wood, with the true vine nature in it. This must be cut away. And why? Because it draws away the strength and life of the vine, and hinders the flow of the juice to the grape. The more it is cut down, the less wood there is in the branch, the more all the sap can go to the grape. The wood of the branch must decrease, that the fruit for the vine may increase; in obedience to the law of all nature, that death is the way to life, that gain comes through sacrifice, the rich and luxuriant growth of wood must be cut off and cast away, that the life more abundant may be seen in the cluster.

Even so, child of God, branch of the Heavenly Vine, there is in thee that which appears perfectly innocent and legitimate, and which yet so draws out thy interest and thy strength, that it must be pruned and cleansed away. We saw what power in prayer men like Abraham and Moses and Elijah had, and we know what fruit they bore. But we also know what it cost them; how God had to separate them from their surroundings, and ever again to draw them from any trust in themselves, to seek their life in Him alone. It is only as our own will, and strength and effort and pleasure, even where these appear perfectly natural and sinless, are cut down, so that the whole energies of our being are free and open to receive the sap of the Heavenly Vine, the Holy Spirit, that we shall bear much fruit. It is in the surrender of what nature holds fast, it is in the full and willing submission to God’s holy pruning-knife, that we shall come to what Christ chose and appointed us for—to bear fruit, that whatsoever we ask the Father in Christ’s name, He may give to us.

What the pruning-knife is, Christ tells us in the next verse. “Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.” As He says later, “Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.” “The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit.” What heart-searching words Christ had spoken to His disciples on love and humility, on being the least, and, like Himself, the servant of all, on denying self, and taking the cross, and losing the life. Through His word the Father had cleansed them, cut away all confidence in themselves or the world, and prepared them for the inflowing and filling of the Spirit of the Heavenly Vine. It is not we who can cleanse ourselves: God is the Vinedresser: we may confidently intrust ourselves to His care.

Beloved brethren,—ministers, missionaries, teachers, workers, believers old and young,—are you mourning your lack of prayer, and, as a consequence, your lack of power in prayer? Oh! come and listen to your beloved Lord as He tells you, “only be a branch, united to, identified with, the Heavenly Vine, and your prayers will be effectual and much availing.” Are you mourning that just this is your trouble—you do not, cannot, live this branch-life, abiding in Him? Oh! come and listen again. “More fruit” is not only your desire, but the Father’s too. He is the Husbandman who cleanseth the fruitful branch, that it may bear more fruit. Cast yourself upon God, to do in you what is impossible to man. Count upon a Divine cleansing, to cut down and take away all that self-confidence and self-effort, that has been the cause of your failure. The God who gave you His beloved Son to be your Vine, who made you His branch, will He not do His work of cleansing to make you fruitful in every good work, in the work of prayer and intercession too?

Here is the life that can pray. A branch entirely given up to the Vine and its aims, with all responsibility for its cleansing cast on the Vinedresser; a branch abiding in Christ, trusting and yielding to God for His cleansing, can bear much fruit. In the power of such a life we shall love prayer, we shall know how to pray, we shall pray, and receive whatsoever we ask.

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Tabernacle: The Veils Between Realms by Leo Fenton

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In this study we will look at the three areas of the Tabernacle of Moses to try to show different dimensions or spiritual realms that may become more common to experience in the future. In these past studies we have shared my theory that the church must someday experience a transition from the Outer Court to this next and higher dimension or realm of the Holy Place life and ministry. My theory is this; It is because the Lampstand church is NOT in the Outer Court but in the Holy Place that there must be a corporate transition from natural light to the supernatural light of the seven Spirits of God in the Holy Place.

All Christians have passed through the first veil to come to the Brass Altar for forgiveness of sins. There was a definite division between the areas outside the Tabernacle and the Outer Court. While there is not so much contrast between the two dimensions, and natural light prevailed in both dimensions, we are aware that we have passed from one realm to another.

However, even though we passed from one realm to another we didn’t have to go anyplace. Our body stayed the same and we didn’t change physical positions but we still moved from one realm to another. One moment we were on one side of the “gate” and following repentance we were on the other side of the gate even though we hadn’t physically moved. My opinion is that the transition from the Outer Court to the Holy Place life and ministry will be similar to this even though much more dramatic.

First let us look at some different dimensions of the Spirit that we may be familiar.

In another study we examined how the Christian life is “living by the Life of another.” This is Paul’s testimony in the Book of Galatians. GAL 2:20] “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

Other translations say “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” This indicates that in this other realm we may live by His faith and not try to work up our faith. Paul said he no longer lived by his former life but now he lived by the Life of Christ that was in him. His revelation was that he had been crucified with Christ and he, himself, had died. It is no longer “I” who lives. If we try to interpret this eternal truth from an intellectual and logical viewpoint we will end up in confusion. Those who interacted with Paul as he said that would say it appeared that the person they were talking to was the same life of the same Paul.

Paul had changed the realms in which he lived. He no longer lived in the former realm but had made the transition to this other dimension where He no longer lived but where Christ lived His life in Paul. Was this something incredible or weird? Not at all! If this was really true why did he still look the same?

In another study we were trying to interpret Colossians 3:1-4 which is another enigma.

COL 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. [3] For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Pure logic and intellectual comprehension are no help in understanding what this scripture says. Many things that Jesus taught fall into this same intellectual strain and logical confusion. Never the less those who have a little insight will know this reveals eternal truth that goes beyond pure logic and natural understanding. In other words there is another realm that is available to us in which we may understand these eternal truths. We may generically define this other realm as “spiritual” which doesn’t help us much to experience this other dimension in which we “see” the unseen.

If we can clearly see that we are here on earth, how is it that we can say that we have been raised up and seated with Christ in heavenly places. Do we have disappear from here in order to be there? Certainly not! Why? Because the only thing that separates us from that other realm is a thin veil. Both realms are in the same location

My thesis is this: There is a realm in which we now live, just beyond the physical, in which we may “see” eternal things. This is not a matter of God “taking us some other place” to show us this realm but this “realm” is all around us now. For example; If we were with Paul when he was caught up to the Third Heaven when He “saw” unspeakable things, would we be aware that he left and went some other place? No! His body was on earth. In fact Paul couldn’t even tell if he was in the body or not.

2COR 12:1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. [2] I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven. [3] And I know how such a man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows– [4] was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

Another example is the angels that are watching over us. They are with us all the time so why don’t we see them? Even though they are here they are in this other realm or dimension where natural vision cannot see them. This fact should not be considered “too mystical for us.”

How is it possible for these different realms to inhabit the same space and we not be aware of them? I will attempt to show this from the Tabernacle of Moses.

The Tabernacle was laid out in three “dimensions or realms.” The most common was the Outer court in which the Priests, the Levites and the people who were circumcised and had a sacrifice could enter. Seven Outer Court experiences are depicted here under natural light of the sun, moon and stars.

The next realm or dimension that was within the same space of the outer fence was called the Holy Place. This realm was much more restricted and was the exclusive realm for the sanctified and consecrated priests to minister to the Lord. Here they maintained the Lampstand, set out the Showbread (and ate the Showbread) and maintained and burned Incense before God day and night.

The next realm or dimension that was within the same space of the outer fence was called the Most Holy Place and was the place of the Ark of the Covenant and habitation of God. It was from over the Ark of the Covenant, above the Mercy Seat and from between the two Cherubim that God spoke. No one had access to the Most Holy Place except the High Priest and that was only once a year on the Day of Atonement. Only the New Testament Priest after the order of Melchizedec has access to these other dimensions and of course there are many qualifications. One of the qualifications is to be fully consecrated.

The point I am making is this: Within this small space of about 150 X 50 feet there were three dimensions or realms of life, Spirit and ministry going on at the same time but out of sight of the others. A veil separated each realm. If we could step through that veil we would immediately be standing in another dimension. We wouldn’t have to be “taken up”someplace to “see” that dimension but rather just step through the veil. Maybe more accurately we could say “If God just pulled the veil back a little we would be in that other realm.”

REV 1:10] I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, [11] saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” [12] And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; [13] and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle.

This demonstrates my point. John was “in the Spirit” and heard a voice speaking and turned (without going any place) and saw into this other realm. Within that dimension many things were unfolding that were totally invisible to John a few seconds before. This is not called “a vision” but a “revelation of Jesus Christ.”

EZE 1:1 Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. EZE 1:4 And as I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. [5] And within it there were figures resembling four living beings.

Ezekiel’s body was by the river Chebar but around him was another dimension that was invisible until the heavens were opened and then he saw. Not with his natural eyes but with inner eyes that could “see” into this realm. There was only a “veil” between these two realms. Both realms were real but one is always visible while the other is invisible until we step into it “in the Spirit.” Of course this is not a matter of our will but of the “Spirit” who pulls back the veil and opens this other realm to us as He pleases.

In this realm of eternity there is no time. Therefore, eternity is the past, present and the future. What Paul, John and Ezekiel saw was eternity in the eternal present. John could see many future events as though they were happening today. Ezekiel also could see future events as though they were just happening. We don’t know exactly what Paul saw but we know it was the Third Heaven that corresponds with the Most Holy Place.

If that veil was pulled back today we could all see what Paul and John and Ezekiel saw because it is all there in the eternal present. Is this rational and intellectually satisfying? Not at all! But is it possible for us to step over into that realm without going anywhere? Of course, we could also “see”, if we were in the Spirit on the Lord”s day and God decided to show us these things. Of course if God desired to show us these things but we were not in the Spirit on the Lord’s day we would “see” nothing. Even if others were in the Spirit and “saw” something we could see nothing unusual. Then we could testify that I was there at exactly the same time but I saw nothing. Therefore, what they saw was some fantasy or they just pretended to “see” something.

Several of us were confronted by a confusing experience when we were in the Toronto Fellowship Church a few years ago when all kinds of strange things were going on. We understood that these people were having some kind of supernatural experience but we were feeling nothing. It would have been easy to reject the whole thing because we weren’t in the same dimension with them. It was very real to them but we were not in the same realm to experience the same thing they were experiencing. We were in the same building but not in the same realm. This then became the source of much criticism when others went there to observe.

It appeared that they were just normal as they walked to the platform but as they stepped on the platform they stepped into another dimension and began all kinds of strange manifestations. The veil into this other realm was quite thin and invisible and very confusing. The “veil” was not visible to us but the change could be seen even if it could not be understood.

This is a big problem with Spiritual Vision and the reason for so much controversy. God may give some spiritual understanding to one person in an assembly because He wants to make it known. Then the carnal or uninformed will mock and make fun of the revelation because “it is too strange for our people.” “After all, I pray and study more than them and I didn’t see anything.”

What if God’s purpose is to make known through the church these mysteries that have been hidden from all past generations? How would we respond if we were not seeing the same things? Our vision perspective must be in an elevated and progressing dimension or we may be among the mockers who reject anything other than what is natural and something we can also see.

Aaron Harley’s revelation of the Seven Spirits of God and the wheels within the wheels that He preached on Aug 17,2002 in the Washington Convention is an example of this other dimension. He said that God “showed him” that scene and how it was formed. He said he saw it in the various colors that were demonstrated by about 60 people from the congregation. The “vision” began with different viewpoints of the Lampstand with the seven flames of fire. Then he saw the Lampstand in three dimensional relief with 49 flames of fire. God then began to bring many scriptures to mind that confirmed his “vision.” This was so awesome to see unfolding before our natural eyes as it was demonstrated by many in the congregation.

It is easy to respond with “So what, what has that got to do with the price of eggs?” My excitement is that God is revealing these things in my lifetime and I believe we can expect much more revelation soon. The Holy Place life and ministry has been hidden too long! Is this prophetically speaking of the Lampstand Church experiencing the seven manifold manifestation of the Spirit of God? If it is, then we can expect much more revelation from the Showbread and an “eating” from the Holy Bread of God. in another dimension There should also be another dimension of burning Incense that we have not experienced before. The torn veil then can release much more of the Glory of God into the Holy Place Life and ministry! This is essential if “the Glorious Church” fulfills her glorious destiny before she is taken out to meet the Bridegroom.

HEB 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This “great cloud of witnesses” are watching us run this race but why can’t we see them? Because they are in another realm. They can see us but we can’t see them. However, if this “veil” was pulled back we could see them but we might also see what they see. The writer of Hebrews must have seen something to know about this group of witnesses. If Paul wrote Hebrews then this must have been one of the things he saw when this other realm was revealed to him. My theory is that when Paul was caught up to the third heaven all that had to happen was that God pulled back two veils and he was there.

So what is the purpose of these examples? The 2nd veil in the Tabernacle is the only thing that separates us from the revelations within the Holy Place. From where we are standing it looks impossible for us to step through into this higher revelation, higher life and higher ministry. Still, this was not a hinged gate of solid wood overlaid with Gold and secured with giant locks but just a veil that could be pulled back for entrance. That realm is here in this realm but is just invisible at the moment.

For that reason it seems clear that we are much closer to this next restoration than we might suspect. In fact the next dimension is here and now but we can’t see it. That doesn’t mean the requirements have been set aside but that soon after we meet the requirements the veil will be pulled back. We are not waiting for God, He is waiting for us! What God is probably waiting for is a corporate group that have completed their full Consecration Offering.

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The Bread of Life, Laid in a Manger

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December 23, 2019 · 11:04 am

Worship Map: From Earth to Zion

I woke up early in the morning yesterday and the Lord was laying this out in a visualization so I did my best to put it all down on paper!   Take time to look up all the verses as you study this.   It is my understanding of worship, Mt. Zion and entering in to God’s presence.  Download the PDF here:  earth zion

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The Oddness of the Feast of Booths by James B Jordan

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BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 90

December, 1996
Copyright 1996 Biblical Horizons

The Feast of Ingathering in the seventh month of the Sinaitic calendar is also called the Feast of Sukkoth, of Booths, also called Feast of Tabernacles. I have usually called it by that last phrase, and it is the most common today; but there is a problem: A tabernacle is a tent, and tents are precisely what are not in view here.

The booths are prescribed in Leviticus 23:40-42, “Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the growth of beautiful trees – palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook – and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God for seven days.  . . . You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall dwell in booths.” An example of obedience to this command is found in Nehemiah 8:15, “Go out to the hills and bring olive branches, and oil-tree branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.”

These are not tents. They are shelters or lean-tos, made of leafy branches. After a week, such shelters would be wearing thin as the leaves decayed.

This seems an odd command, and it becomes odder when we read the reason for it: “So that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt” (Lev. 23:43).

What is odd about this rationale is that it seems certain that the Israelites did not live in leafy booths when they came out of Egypt. Rubenstein comments: “First, sukkot are generally not found in the desert. They are built in fields for the protection of watchmen, workers, or animals, and constructed from the products of the field – leaves, branches, reeds, foliage, wood, and hay. Where would the Israelites have found such materials in the desert wasteland? Desert travelers stay in tents, not booths.” To which I may add, where would they have found enough foliage for booths for 600,000 men and their families?

Rubenstein continues: “Second, outside of this lone verse in Leviticus, the Bible never claims that the Israelites stayed in booths. There are several descriptions of the camp of the Israelites in the desert, but not one pictures the tribes dwelling in sukkot. Tents are occasionally mentioned, but never booths. Why does Leviticus 23:43 suddenly assume that the Israelites dwelled in sukkot, while the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy know nothing about it?” (See Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, “The Symbol-ism of the Sukkah,” Judaism 43 [1994], pp. 371ff.)

The answer of the rabbis to this problem, which Rubenstein accepts, begins with noticing that right after leaving Egypt, the Israelites dwelt at a place called Sukkoth. Sukkoth was, in fact, the first place the people went after leaving Egypt: “Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth, about 600,000 men on foot, aside from children” (Ex. 12:37).

It seems, then, that the Feast of Sukkoth (Booths) memorialized the dwelling of the people at Sukkoth – but why? The rabbis suggest further that “Sukkoth” might not be a place name at all, but a description of an environment in which the people dwelled. And what was that environment? It was an environment of clouds.

This seems to me exactly correct, and the burden of this essay is to unfold the correctness of this suggestion, and show its meaning and fulfillment.

First of all, an examination of the word sukkah, its relatives sak, sok, and masak, and its verb form sakak, will reveal that this interpretation is entirely possible. The general meaning is “covering,” but specifically associated with clouds or foliage. There are other words for “cover” that do not have these associations. Sukkah or sok can refer to a booth set up to shelter someone from the weather, especially from the sun (Gen. 33:7; 1 Ki. 20:12 & 16; Job 27:18; Jonah 4:5). It can also refer to the thicket in which a lion crouches (Job. 38:40; Ps. 10:9; Jer. 25:38). Most significantly, it can refer to the Glory Cloud of God, His booth (2 Sam. 22:12; Job 36:29; Ps. 18:11; Is. 4:5-6).

Booths set up by an army in the field are sukkoth, and there is probably a double-entendre in 2 Samuel 11:11. There we find Uriah reminding David that the Ark is in the field and the men are living in booths. It is as if Israel is having a kind of Feast of Booths and David is not present with them.

(As a sidelight, Psalm 42:4 refers to the booths of Israel at a festival, which identifies it as the Feast of Booths. The word sak is, however, mistranslated as “throng” or “multitude.”)

The other main noun in this group is masak, which is used consistently for the veils that formed the doorway-barriers of the court and two rooms of the tabernacle. It is also used, however, for the idea of protection in Isaiah 22:8, and for God’s Glory Cloud in Psalm 105:39. The tabernacle was a symbol of God’s Cloud, so linking God’s Cloud as a covering and the veils of the tabernacle as coverings is appropriate.

The verb form of this word, sakak, “cover,” is used in the same range of associations. The veils of the tabernacle cover the Ark (Ex. 40:3, 21). God’s wings cover His people (Ps. 91:4), and the wings of the cherubim cover the Ark (Ex. 25:20; 37:9, 1 Ki. 8:7; 1 Chron. 28:18). The high priest is such a covering cherub (Ezk. 28:14, 16). God’s Cloud is said to cover and to be a barrier against the wicked (Lam. 3:43, 44). Coverings as protection, especially God’s protection, are another usage (Ps. 5:11; 139:13; 140:7; Nah. 2:6). Since a man is defenseless when defecating, he retires to a protected place to “cover” his “feet” (Jud. 3:24; 1 Sam. 24:3). (If we translate “boothing the feet,” and think of an outhouse, we are in line with the meaning of this phrase.) Finally, of great interest to us is that trees are said to cover and shade (Job 40:22).

Putting all this together, we find that a sukkah or booth is a covering or shade. It is analogous to the shade of a tree, and thus is made of arboreal materials. It is also analogous to the covering and shade of God’s Glory Cloud, and to the symbol of that Cloud, the tabernacle.

With this in mind, we can see how the Feast of Booths memorializes the time in the wilderness. During that time, Israel dwelt in The Booth of God’s Cloud, in the sense of being shaded by His Cloud. Psalm 105:39 says, “He spread a Cloud for a covering, and fire to illumine by night.” Similarly, Isaiah 4:5-6 speaks quite clearly: “Then Yahweh will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a Cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the Glory will form a canopy. And there will be a booth to shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.”

God’s Cloud over the people forms a Great Booth, within which they live. That Cloud over them is like the glorious canopy of a leafy tree, and thus the reproduction of such an arboreal canopy is a symbol of God’s Cloud.

Now we can return to Israel’s sojourn at Sukkoth, recorded in Exodus 12:37 – 13:20. There is every reason to believe that God’s Cloud was over them during this time, for as they left Sukkoth, the Cloud went before them. It is at this point, and not before, that the Cloud appears: “Then they set out from Sukkoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. And Yahweh was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might go by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people” (Ex. 13:20-22). (This was, by the way, one Cloud with fire inside it; the fire visible at night and the cloud by day; see Ezekiel 1 for a full description of the Cloud.)

How long did they dwell at Sukkoth? We are not told, but since the memorial of that occasion lasts a week, they might have been there a week. This would have been a week of unleavened bread, after the Passover-Exodus, in which case the Feast of Booths is a memorial of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Moreover, it may have taken Pharaoh a week to rouse himself and gather the tattered remains of his people to pursue Israel. (This is a change from what I wrote in A Chronological and Calendrical Commentary on the Pentateuch. Biblical Horizons Occasional Paper No. 22. There I assumed a one-day sojourn at Sukkoth. A week-long sojourn now seems more likely to me.)

The rabbis were not sure, and we cannot be either, whether the Sukkoth mentioned in Exodus 12-13 was the name of a place, or whether it refers to God’s covering of the people at the place they stayed for a brief time. It does not matter. Perhaps this place had another name earlier, but the Israelites called it Booths (perhaps a plural of greatness: Great Booth), because they dwelt in God’s Booth while there.

It is interesting to consider that at the memorial Feast of Booths, God did not tell Israel to set up a ring of leafy branches around the whole encampment. Rather, the people were to set up their own private booths. This served to individualize and personalize the relationship of each person to God. Yes, God and His Cloud protected the nation as a whole, but also each individual. Each individual experienced the cool shade from leafy tree branches for a week during the hot days of late summer.

One other connection appears to me, which is that this symbolism relates to the events of Palm Sunday. Matthew 21:8 says that the people put branches in the road for Jesus’ donkey to walk on, and Mark 11:8 adds that they were leafy branches. This is so familiar to us that we don’t notice that it might be odd. We think of it merely as laying down a carpet for the king, and so it is. But it may well be that this is a carpet of clouds, and the idea is that Jesus is being elevated. By putting the “clouds” under Jesus instead of over Him, they were placing Him on high. Without realizing it fully, they were anticipating His ascension into God’s Cloud.

In John 12:13, the people greet Jesus with palm branches, though John says nothing about laying them down as a carpet. All the same, part of the meaning of this event, in the light of what we have seen of Biblical imagery, is that Jesus is placed at the center of a glory cloud. The king surrounded by such branches is like God surrounded by His Cloud.

 Biblical Horizons – http://www.biblicalhorizons.com –

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Born of Water and the Spirit Pt. 1

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Born of Water and the Spirit

As we study the Bible we find that it is a book of repeated patterns and symbols. Col 2: 16-17 tells us that what God gave the nation of Israel in the Old Covenant were “shadows” of realities found in Jesus Christ. “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

When reading the Old Testament we are reading a book of history and prophecy. As we understand the Bible we can determine the meanings of these shadows and see Jesus Christ’s “reality” revealed. In Galatians 3 the apostle Paul tells us: “Therefore the Law has become our tutor (or guardian) to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”

One of the more common symbols given in the Old Testament is that of water and clouds. We know that water is important in the New Testament, as it is representative of entering the new Covenant through baptism, and also it is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

John 3: 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

Living Water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit:

John 7: 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

Water in The History of Creation

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

The important thing to note from the above verse is that there are two kinds of water spoken of by scripture: Water below or water of the ground or earth, and water from above or heavenly water. In between the waters connecting the waters below or the earthly waters and the waters above was a firmament.

The word firmament means: expanse of heaven

This is the space that connects heaven to earth. The firmament is symbolic of Jesus because he IS the connection between heaven and earth.

Water in The Garden of Eden

Genesis 2: 1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

4 This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

The land and garden of Eden were watered by a spring. Why call attention to the fact that God did not send rain? Why not just mention the spring and leave off the statement about rain? The reason, I believe, is to call our minds back to Genesis 1:2-9. We find in Genesis 1:2 that there was an ocean over the original earth. Then God created the firmament, and separated the waters above from the waters below. On the third day God gathered the waters below into areas below the surface of the land.

Now we have a clear distinction between waters above the firmament, the source of rain, and waters below, which would have to come up from under the earth.

With this distinction in mind, we can begin to see rather clear associations between ground water and the first creation, which is earthy and Adamic, and heavenly water with the second creation, which is heavenly and Last Adamic (Jesus is the last Adam): “The Spiritual [world order] is not first, but the natural [world order]; then the Spiritual [world order]. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second Man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:46-48). Ground water is associated with the first world, the world defiled by sin. ”1

The Rivers in God’s Garden (Ground Water)

8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

The Bible begins with rivers flowing from the ground in Eden to water the earth (water from below) and ends with water flowing from God’s throne in the Book of Revelation (Water from heaven). In Revelation 22 : 1- 2 we see the heavenly river flowing from God’s throne and the restoration of the Tree of Life (a symbol of Jesus who gives eternal life). “1 Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” This river and water are only available to those who are entered into the city through the gate Jesus into the New Covenant.

Genesis 13: Abram and Lot Separate

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, (Eden) like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.”

This Edenic spot was chosen by Lot, who went for the obvious blessing of ground water—so much more reliable than rain, which must be prayed for. Notice that Gen. 13:10 interjects the statement that God would soon destroy this area. Why is this stuck in here? I believe it is to point to the fact that ground water is not going to be the place of salvation. The waters below, the original garden of Eden, cannot be recovered. We shall have to move forward to the eschatological waters above and the heavenly Jerusalem.

Just so, Moses contrasts the old land of Egypt, watered from the ground, (through the flooding of the Nile River)  with the promised land, which is watered by rain: “For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land … drinks water from heaven’s rain” (Dt. 11:10-11). Moses quotes God’s promise, “I will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain” (Dt. 11:14). 2

John 2: Jesus Changes Water Into Wine.  Water Transformed 

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Cleansing and resurrection are governing motifs in this section of John’s gospel. We can begin with the story of the wedding at Cana, where Jesus took six waterpots that were for cleansing, filled them with water, and turned that water into wine (John 2:1-11). The six large, man-sized waterpots seem to relate to the six disciples Jesus had with Him at the time, and the meaning seems to be that cleansing leads to new life as water turns to wine.

This event is followed by Jesus’ first cleansing of the Temple from its “house leprosy” (John 2:13-22), which Jesus explains in terms of His own resurrection. Cleansing leads to the resurrection (new-age life) of the true Temple of God.” 3

The symbolism in the above account can not be overlooked.    Six being the number of man, created on the 6th Day and being filled with the water of life, the Holy Spirit we are transformed into divine creatures at the wedding with the Bridegroom, Jesus.

John 3:1-15 “You must be born from Above”

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. a

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.  14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

In verse 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born “from above.” The reference is to heaven, to what is on the other side of the firmament set up in Genesis 1:6-8. What is on the other side of the firmament is the heavenly ocean.

Nicodemus asks, in verse 4, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” This is often taken to be an almost mocking question, but it is not. Nicodemus knows that Jesus does not mean for us to reenter our mother’s wombs and be reborn in that sense. He is using a figure of speech to ask this question: Can history be reversed? Can there be a new creation? History has moved along since the creation, since the sin of Adam. How can that history be undone?

Jesus replies by saying that history is not reversed or undone. Rather, the new birth from above is “of water and the Spirit” (v. 5). If we look back at Genesis 2:6-7, we find that Adam was created without water. He was made of dust breathed upon by the Spirit of God. The water from the ground watered the soil and gave life to plants, but man was made not from ground water but from the Spirit and dry earth. Thus, being born of water is an eschatological (relating to the end or completion) idea. The implication is that man would have a new birth when the waters from heaven are sprinkled upon him by the Spirit.

The firmament is the boundary between heaven and earth. The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus is the Firmament, the Mediator between heaven and earth. Thus, it is He who sprinkles us with water from above. It is He who gives the new birth of water and the Spirit. The first creation is by the Spirit; the new creation is by water and the Spirit. The first creation is of the earth, earthy; the new creation is of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

Waters from heaven cleanse the old earth and bring a new world. At the Flood, waters came down from heaven. The various sprinklings of the Old Covenant made the same point. Water baptism today makes the same point.

Nicodemus asks in verse 9, “How can these things be?” He is asking the legal ground for what Jesus has said. What makes it possible for God to bring about a new creation in the midst of the history of the old creation?

Jesus gets to the answer in verses 13-15: His atoning death will make Him the new Firmament, the Mediator between heaven and earth. His death will grant men access to the baptismal heavenly waters, and provide birth from above, by water and the Spirit.”4

1From James B. Jordan’s Trees and Thorns:

2From James B. Jordan’s Trees and Thorns:

3http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical-horizons/no-136-thirty-eight-years-by-the-sheep-pool/

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The Earth is FULL of HIS Glory!

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The Baptism of the Spirit  

Adam was created in the image of God: Gen 1: 26-27  “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

The image of God included the GLORY of God:

Gen 2: 7 Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. (Living Soul)

Man is a TRIUNE Being:

Body: Dust: dry earth, dust

The Lord Breathed: blow, breath, A primitive root; to puff, in various applications (literally, to inflate, blow hard, scatter, kindle, expire; figuratively, to disesteem) — blow, breath, give up, cause to lose (life), seething, snuff.

God blew on the man!

Breath of Life: Spirit: The breath of God: life (1), persons alive (1), spirit

Soul: a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion (Soul is the MIND, The WILL and the EMOTIONS)

The Garden of Eden was a temple garden where man ministered before God and walked in the presence of God. Adam was God’s Priest in the Garden of Eden: A priest is one who ministers before God.

Gen 2: 15 Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it.

Dress/ Cultivate: Tend “To work, To Serve”

Keep: to keep, watch, preserve PERFORM

These Hebrew words for Tend and Keep are used in the service of the priests in the Tabernacle of Moses.

Numbers 3: 5 Then the LORD said to Moses, Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. 7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole congregation before the Tent of Meeting, attending to the service of the tabernacle.

Genesis 2: 21 God takes the woman out of the man:

19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and He brought them to the man to see what he would name each one. And whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he slept, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the area with flesh. 22 And from the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man, He made a woman and brought her to him. 23 And the man said:

This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man she was taken.”

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed.

Adam is formed out of the dust of the earth. His name means: “Human” Literally: Red or Ruddy as he was taken out of the clay of the earth.

In order for Adam’s wife to be created God caused a deep death like sleep to fall upon Adam: “deep sleep”: TRANCE or DEATH like (death and resurrection)

When God separates the woman from the man the name meanings change from Adam “Human” to:

Woman: ishshah : Wife or female. The root of this word is the word for “Burnt Offering”

Man: “Because she was taken out of Man” ISH: The root is FIRE

When the man and woman are separated the fire in their names represents the GLORY of God.

NOTE: The man’s wife is taken out of his side!

THE FALL:

Gen 3: The Serpent’s Deception

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field that the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat of any tree in the garden?’”

2 The woman answered the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, 3 but about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You must not eat of it or touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent told her. 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom, she took the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

7 And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed together fig leaves and made coverings for themselves.

Adam and Eve Walked in the Presence of God:   Gen 3: 8 Then the man and his wife heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the breeze of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Breeze = The breath of God, the Spirit

Transliteration: ruach
Phonetic Spelling: (roo’-akh)
Definition: breath, wind, spirit

After the fall Adam and Eve hide themselves from the BREATH or Spirit ( Glory) of God. They did not die physically. What died in them was the spirit man that walked in communion or fellowship with God. They now are hiding from the presence of God.

Death enters the world because of sin, as Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden and no longer allowed to eat from the Tree of Life:

The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 2 4 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Adam now has sons after his image:  Gen 5: 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.

After the Fall Adam has sons in HIS image, NOT God’s image. The image of Adam is man being flesh (body) and soul (mind, will and emotions) dominant. His spirit man had died because of separation from God!

The Bible is the story of man’s creation, fall and redemption: Being born again literally means “born from above” and to be born again is to be transformed from the earthly man to the heavenly man:

John 3: 3 Jesus replied, Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

1 Cor 15: 44 If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” (SOUL) ; the last Adam, (Jesus) a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven 49. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. 50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

On the cross Jesus’ wife (The Bride of Christ) is taken out of his side or rib cage: John 19: 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

Adam was put into a deep trance sleep like death when his wife was taken out of his side. Jesus’ death and resurrection purchased his bride, the Church, and was symbolized by the opening up of his rib cage.

Then after his death and resurrection Jesus breathes on his disciples: 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is re-infusing man with the Ruach, (breath, wind, spirit) of God!

On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes There is wind (Ruach) and Fire (Glory)

Acts 2: 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the restoration of the state of man that was lost in the fall. Jesus is restoring man to fellowship with the Spirit of God by bringing man’s dead spirit back to life through the sacrifice of himself for our sins! We are now raised and seated with Christ:

Eph 2: 4 But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved! 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages He might display the surpassing riches of His grace, demonstrated by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

When we are born again we become priests before God to minister in his heavenly tabernacle: 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

The New Covenant restores the Tree of Life in the Garden City, the New Heavenly Jerusalem: Rev 22: 1Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Now the whole earth (MANKIND/ ADAM) is filled with HIS Glory as we worship HIM in Spirit and in truth!

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Commentary on Galatians 4 by Martin Luther “The Church is the Heavenly Jerusalem”

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Found this interesting in a commentary by Martin Luther on the book of Gaiatians:
Chapter 4: “VERSE 3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
As children of the Law we were treated like servants and prisoners. We were oppressed and condemned by the Law. But the tyranny of the Law is not to last forever. It is to last only until “the time appointed of the father,” until Christ came and redeemed us.
VERSE 3. Under the elements of the world.
By the elements of the world the Apostle does not understand the physical elements, as some have thought. In calling the Law “the elements of the world” Paul means to say that the Law is something material, mundane, earthly. It may restrain evil, but it does not deliver from sin. The Law does not justify; it does not bring a person to heaven. I do not obtain eternal life because I do not kill, commit adultery, steal, etc. Such mere outward decency does not constitute Christianity……. VERSE 25. And answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
A little while ago Paul called Mount Sinai, Hagar. He would now gladly make Jerusalem the Sarah of the New Testament, but he cannot. The earthly Jerusalem is not Sarah, but a part of Hagar. Hagar lives there in the home of the Law, the Temple, the priesthood, the ceremonies, and whatever else was ordained in the Law at Mount Sinai.
I would have been tempted to call Jerusalem, Sarah, or the New Testament. I would have been pleased with this turn of the allegory. It goes to show that not everybody has the gift of allegory. Would you not think it perfectly proper to call Sinai Hagar and Jerusalem Sarah? True, Paul does call Sarah Jerusalem. But he has the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem in mind, not the earthly Jerusalem. Sarah represents that spiritual Jerusalem where there is no Law but only the promise, and where the inhabitants are free.
To show that the Law has been quite abolished, the earthly Jerusalem was completely destroyed with all her ornaments, temples, and ceremonies.
VERSE 26. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
The earthly Jerusalem with its ordinances and laws represents Hagar and her offspring. They are slaves to the Law, sin and death. But the heavenly Jerusalem is Sarah, the free woman. This heavenly Jerusalem is the Church, that is to say the number of all believers throughout the world, having one and the same Gospel, one and the same faith in Christ, one and the same Holy Ghost, and the same sacraments.
Do not mistake this one word “above” to refer to the triumphant Church in heaven, but to the militant Church on earth. In Philippians 3:20, the Apostle uses the phrase: “Our conversation is in heaven,” not locally in heaven, but in spirit. When a believer accepts the heavenly gifts of the Gospel he is in heaven. So also in Ephesians 1:3, “Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Jerusalem here means the universal Christian Church on earth.

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Identifying Edom Through Scripture and History

Well researched article “Identifying Edom Through Scripture and History” by DeAnne Loper, author of “Kabbalah Secrets Christians Need to Know”

Identifying Edom through Scripture and History

“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.  If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”  Luke 4:5-7
One of the longest held traditions of the Babylonian Talmud and kabbalistic prophecy is that Christianity is Edom and that when Messiah comes to judge the earth, he will destroy Christianity, leaving only a remnant of Christians and Gentiles to assist Israel in building the earthly kingdomof God in Jerusalem.  This legendary fable has no Biblical basis, but was conceived and passed down beginning in the period following the destruction of the second Temple.  The Encyclopaedia Judaica states:

“The identification of Edom with Rome is never found in the literature of the Second Templeperiod…attempts at detecting it in the…Pentateuch have no real basis.  The identification appears first, apparently, in an aggadah [non-legal rabbinic writings recorded in the Talmud and Midrash] of the period following the Bar Kokhba War…The identification is also found in a conversation between [Rabbi] Akiva and Tinneius Rufus [Roman ambassador to Judea at the beginning of the second century]…Thereafter it became very widespread.” 1

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The Heavenly Calling, Conduct and Conflict of the Church by T. Austin-Sparks

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The Heavenly Calling, Conduct and Conflict of the Church
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 1 – The Calling

We turn to the letter to the Ephesians, not for an exposition of the letter in any detailed sense, but for the message of the Lord, and at the outset I specially want to underline a phrase which occurs some five times in this letter.

“…Has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).

“…He raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at his right hand in the heavenlies…” (Eph. 1:20).

“…Raised us up with Him, and made us to sit with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

“…That now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenlies might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10).

“Our wrestling is… against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies” (Eph. 6:12).

So the message is that concerning the heavenly calling, conduct and conflict of the church.

The calling covers the first three chapters, and is that to which the apostle refers in Ephesians 4:1: “I therefore beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called”. The calling is that of which he has been writing up to that point.

The conduct goes on with Ephesians 4 as far as Ephesians 6:9.

Then the conflict comes in at Ephesians 6:10.

These three things represent a revelation – a calling is a revelation; an exhortation in relation to the revelation, and then finally a challenge by the powers of evil to the revelation, the calling, and the conduct of the church.

This letter to the Ephesians, so-called, (which we must always remember was an encyclical letter, that is, it was sent to a considerable number of churches in Asia) is a grand summary of all the Divine thoughts from eternity to eternity. It reveals the greatest things that have ever been disclosed by God to man. They are the things which are gathered into the small compass of this letter.

Here we have, for instance, the unveiling of God’s comprehensive eternal intentions, getting behind His acts, going further back than history into the very spring and fountain-head of all the doings of God. There we have the intentions of God from the very beginning. Then we have briefly, but very forcefully shown, the place of His Son in those eternal intentions. Further, we are made by this letter to understand the meaning of the cross, that is, the death, the resurrection, the ascension and the exaltation of Christ in relation to those intentions of God. Finally we have set forth the place, the nature, the vocation and the destiny of the church as the Body of Christ. These are not small things, but immense things crowded, as we have said, into a small compass of words, but everybody who has read this letter knows quite well that the outstanding characteristic of what is called “Ephesians” is the superlative element. The apostle in this letter more than anywhere else, is found to be moving in the superlative realm. We know some of his great superlatives: “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever” (Eph. 3:20-21). That is superlative language, but only a specimen of what is in this letter.

Now, the one thing which governs all that in this letter, is that everything has to be apprehended in the light of God’s eternal purpose. That is, nothing is merely personal, nothing is merely for the moment, and nothing is just a thing in itself. Everything is related, and is related to the eternal purpose and what the apostle takes pains to emphasise is that everything has got to be apprehended in that way. The saints have got to take hold of everything in the light of the eternal purpose; every detail has got to be set in that light, seen in that light, and acted upon in that light, and there are many details. That all-governing purpose of God embraces all the details of our lives as God’s people, and there is nothing in His mind which can be or may be regarded by us as lying outside of a relationship to His purpose, as lying outside that realm where it can affect that purpose or be affected by that purpose. We shall see that later when we come to speak of the conduct of the church which, as you know, has to deal with many things in the ordinary life of believers.

What is that all-governing purpose in the light of which everything in our lives has got to be apprehended? Well, briefly, and this has to be very much enlarged as we go forward, briefly, it is this – a reigning and governing one new Man in Christ. Christ and His members are here set forth as the one new Man, the collective Christ, and what is true of Him is true of His members, and the purpose purposed concerning the Christ is here seen to be concerning Him as Head over all things to the church which is His Body, and the Body, the members therefore, are called, chosen in Him unto the very purpose which God has eternally determined concerning Him, the Son. The purpose is one in the Head and the members, in the Son and in the sons. And the purpose is reigning, governmental administration in God’s universe in heaven and in earth. That is the calling in brief, that is the eternal purpose. That is no small thing to contemplate. You and I would never dare to contemplate a thing like that, if God had not revealed it to be His eternal intention – not just His thought, but His intention – and, mark you, not just the fruit of His grace, but the intention of His will – grace comes in afterwards. It is going to be. You and I may or may not be in it according to our response to God, but it will be. He will have a corporate Christ; He will have a Head and members in oneness who will govern this universe in heaven and on earth. Grace finds us in that, but before grace, is the counsel of His will. Everything is settled finally in the will of God. Well, that purpose sees that eventually – a Body, of which Christ is Head, in governmental authority in God’s universe. This is the calling.

But then, you see, when you have recognised what the calling is, you have to come nearer and see that this is a present, as well as future, expression; that this has to come to realisation in a way and in a measure now, and it is not something only for a coming age, or the ages of the ages. We are in the operation of God’s eternal counsels now. We are in the realm of the fulfilling of His will now, and we are now in the line of the spiritual accomplishment of that purpose.

These various matters mentioned in this letter to the Ephesians are dealt with more fully in themselves in other parts of the New Testament. There they relate to phases and stages of the Christian life and spiritual history. In the book of the Acts we have a large revelation of the Holy Spirit and His activities as in a general way, mainly in relation to the church as His instrument. In the letter to the Romans and the letter to the Galatians, we have a special emphasis upon the cross; that is, the cross related to certain special things in spiritual life. In the letter to the Corinthians we have resurrection brought out in a very full way, and so in Colossians we have ascension, the meaning of Christ’s ascension, underlined and stressed. In Philippians we have the exaltation of Christ – “God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name”. So, in the other parts of the New Testament, you have things mentioned specifically in relation to certain spiritual stages and phases of experience.

But in the letter to the Ephesians, you have all of these brought together in relation to the eternal purpose, the purpose of God concerning Christ and His Body, and all with one object in view – that is, administration. I use that as one of several alternatives. In one translation, the word is “stewardship”. In another, it is “dispensation”. It is the same word in the Greek, and simply means or refers to the administration of a household, the dispensation or arrangement, the scheme of things which obtains as governing everything for the time being. We speak of a regime. One person comes in to take over control and administration in an establishment and under their regime certain things obtain. You may, under their regime, do certain things and you may not do certain things. It is the present form of government. Another person comes along and takes their place and, under the new regime, an entirely new order is set up. That is the meaning of the word “stewardship” here. It is that form of government which obtains for the time being, and in this letter you have to place in the time being the ages of the ages. That will be the time being. Unto the ages of the ages there will be an administration and that administration will be in the hands of Christ and His members as one Body.

It is administration, then, which is in view here and which lies behind this phrase – “in the heavenlies”. Let me go back a step and repeat. It is in the light of that that everything here has got to be apprehended. That is, we have got to see the cross in the light of administration, every aspect of the cross: the death of Christ, in the light of administration; the resurrection of Christ in the light of administration; the ascension of Christ, the exaltation of Christ, all in the light of administration, and the point is this – not only that they are related to that, but you and I have got to lay hold of them in relation to that. That is, we have got to come into the good of these things in the light of the purpose of them, which is administration. If you like to change the word “administration” for the larger definition and say that everything, the death, the resurrection, the ascension and the exaltation of Christ, have to be made good in our experience in order that we may reign – that is what it means – having a life in ascendancy with Christ in a spiritual way.

Now, the keyword of this letter is the word “together” – a most interesting word, I think, in the Greek language. Here, in this letter alone, we are seen to be –

Gathered together (Eph. 1:10, A.V.).

Quickened together (Eph. 2:5, A.V.).

Raised together (Eph. 2:6, A.V.).

Seated together (Eph. 2:6, A.V.).

Framed together (Eph. 2:21).

Built together (Eph. 2:22).

It is this ‘together-ness’ which is the key, and the ‘together-ness’ is twofold.

It is ‘together-ness’ in Christ, and it is ‘together-ness’ with one another as His Body. It is an identity of experience with Christ on the part of the church. What is true of Christ is true of His members in every phase of His experience, and nothing is apart or a thing in itself.

Then the unique feature of this letter is this phrase – “in the heavenlies”, showing exactly where and what all this is, this ‘together-ness’ and this purpose and all that is the common life of the members with the Head. We shall come back to that again later. Of course, this does not mean in heaven in the full and final sense in which we use the phrase “in heaven”. Here it is referring to a sphere or realm where Christ is –  heavenly in nature, heavenly in privilege, heavenly in function. But even this is seen in this letter to be divided into two parts. He is seen to be far above all rule and authority, all principality and power, seated in the heavens, and we are seen to be there in Him. But later we find another ‘heavenlies’ in which principalities and powers, and world rulers of this darkness and hosts of wicked spirits are found. They are not the same, identical realm, but they are both called ‘heavens’. If we were to recognise the difference we would understand the nature of our vocation and conflict perhaps a little better. That remains for our further consideration of the conflict aspect of things.

May I just say here in passing that the great effort of the adversary is to get us down into his heavenlies and out of our heavenlies. Our heavenlies is “seated in Christ far above all rule and authority”. His heavenlies is a lower realm than that, and his effort is always to try and get us down into his own realm, to bring us into his realm of things. It is always the downward pull or enticement – in some way to dislodge the church from its spiritual position, and if that means anything, it means this, that you and I have got to recognise and maintain our position as superior to those evil principalities and powers. Acknowledge for a moment that his position is equal to ours and his power is equal to ours and we are done; hence he will demonstrate in such a way as to make us, if he can, accept his “superior” power.

You will notice that men of faith, in both Old and New Testaments, when there has been a great demonstration of an undoubtedly mighty enemy, have very quietly, in the secret place, maintained their place of absolute tranquillity, and that has been the secret of their victory. Hezekiah, when there is a demonstration going on round about on the part of the hosts beleaguering, says, “Answer not a word, keep quiet, don’t argue, don’t debate, don’t answer back, keep quiet”, and into the sanctuary Hezekiah goes and spreads the matter before the Lord. Well, it is victory, deliverance. The demonstration was not taken on. Whenever the enemy has been able to create panic by his demonstration, the panic itself has been his victory. It has been a ‘walkover’ after that. “Stand still“, says the Lord to Israel on the shores of the Red Sea, “stand still and see…”. And perhaps that is what the apostle meant when, in the matter of the conflict, he says three times – “Stand… stand… stand“. It is a mighty thing to stand before the terrific onrush, seething demonstration, churning up, disturbing, when everything shouts of the power and fury of the enemy. That is the time in which to stand. That will be borne out and our ascendancy will be mainly based upon our ability just to stand. “See that ye be not shaken”, for to be shaken is to be lost. Well, all that came out of dividing between the heavenlies, seeing the upper heavenlies of our position, and the lower heavenlies in which our conflict takes place.

In the heavenlies“. What does that term really mean? What is it intended to mean to believers in the heavenlies? I think so few of the Lord’s people have grasped the significance and value of that phrase. It is so abstract, so unreal, so remote. ‘In the heavenlies’ – very few people have any real interest in that – it must be outside of practical life! We are going to see, before we are through, that it is not outside of practical life by any means. Some of us know that already. But, in a word, what does this phrase mean to believers? It means this, that what is now true of Christ as Head and Representative, is to be of full avail and account to His members. He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. He has sat down on the throne in the heavenlies, which means that He possesses complete administration and authority. It has been given to Him in heaven and in earth. He, as Head, has been filled with all God’s fulness for administration, which means that all the resources of God are at His disposal for His administrative work. That is what it means: “Has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ”. God has filled Him as Head with every necessary resource for His heavenly administration.

Now all that is true of Him as Head. And we cannot entertain the thought, the idea, of a head without a body. Headship just involves the body; it means, it implies, the body. There is no sense in talking about a head without conceiving of a body. No, as Head and as Representative (for He is there in a representative capacity), all that is true of Him thus is available to His members and is to their account. That is what it means to be ‘in the heavenlies’. What does it matter whether we are here on the earth in the flesh or there, if all that is true of Him is as much for our account here as it would be if we were there? It does not matter. We are in the heavenlies in that sense, that all that is true of Him is available to us, but remember – not for our use, not to be made a personal thing at all, notto be applied to peculiar and particular circumstances as such, but in the light of the purpose. And we shall only find resources which are ours in Christ being made effectual as we come into line with the purpose. And what is the purpose again? It is the expression of His supreme Headship in the church, through the church, or is the manifestation of His Lordship in this universe by the church. It is the glory of God in the church by Christ Jesus. As we come into line with the purpose, that we are called of God in union with Christ to govern, then we find our resources.

If you and I are going to seek the riches of Christ for some little personal Christian life and some little bit of personal Christian work, something that is quite a private affair, something that is ours and of interest to us, something down here on this earth that we want to get going, preserve, develop – we are not going to find the Lord comes in in fulness along that line at all. That is why there are so many struggling, but ever-defeated Christians, and that is why there is such a poor sort of church here; ineffective. It is trying to live on far too low a level with far too small a vision. If you and I and the Lord’s people were to come to see the tremendous significance of the calling – administration in Christ in this universe, spiritual authority in Christ over the evil powers which rule this universe, and now that, back of flesh and blood, back of things seen, there is the throne which we share in a practical way spiritually, then we would discover what our riches are, what our ‘every spiritual blessing’ is.

Some of us never really discovered the greater fulnesses of Christ until we came to see that we are not Christians just to live a good life more or less, we are not here just to do this or that or something else for the Lord of what we call ‘Christian service’, but when the Lord revealed to us that we had a heavenly vocation back of all things and that our real significance was not in the realm of things seen, but it was back there behind things seen, it was then that we came to see our riches, our wealth, the greater fulnesses of Christ, our resources, and this is what the church needs today. Speaking in general terms, the church is fighting a losing battle. It is in weakness and defeat. There is very little reigning on the part of the church now.

Hence the Lord would speak to us at this time and show us that it is a higher spiritual level that is wanted. It is another realm of things that is needed. It is that which is meant by ‘the heavenlies in Christ’, which is, let me repeat, the availability, the accessibility, the effectiveness, of all that is true concerning Him now for the church in a spiritual way against all the spiritual enemies of Christ and the church. That is our calling. It is the upward calling, the heavenly calling.

Oh that the Lord would give us the ear within to hear in these days that call anew, and that, as the result, there may be a registration upon those forces of evil of the impact of that throne through the church, and on our part a new knowledge that we are not intended to be a crushed, trampled-down church hardly able to hold its own, wriggling and writhing under the heel of the adversary. On the contrary we are called to the place where that initial thing concerning the Head has to be made good in the church. “He shall bruise thy head” and “God shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”. That is what we are called to. We never forget that dear old apostle had a way of putting that. Whenever we come to that, his words come back to us where he represents the Lord Jesus as saying to His Bride, “Come, My spouse, and put your heel where I have put Mine”. Well, that is a graphic way of putting it, but that is what it means, that we have to occupy the place that Christ occupies so far as the powers of evil are concerned, for the administration of this universe.

The Lord strengthen us unto that!

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