"ARISE" is a journal to be published on a quarterly basis. Its aim is to serve as a vehicle for the expression of the Body Of Christ as it relates to present truth. The articles provided are usually from those of us fellowshipping in the Tampa, FL area. "ARISE" also publishes pertinent articles of similar concern from those abroad consistent with our general purpose and calling. So now receive the word with all readiness of mind and examine the scriptures every day to see if it is really as we say.
This seventh issue of "ARISE" features:
I. "Urged On By Faith" provides us good instruction on the Faith of God and how it motivates us to move in a particular direction in our lives. This excellent teaching is given by Brother Ray Prinzing. He and his wife Doris reside in Boise, Idaho.
II. "God's Love Towards All" continues our Christianity 101 teachings with a basic principle regard- ing the love of God and how it relates to all of mankind. Contrary to popular doctrines, we find that God's love is far greater than man's tradition.
III. "The Concept of Circularity" continues to present us with sufficient evidence that creation is moving ever onward and upward in a spiritual evolution to where everything shall find its fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. This good teaching is provided by Dr. Jack Jacobsen. He and his wife Marjorie live near the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.
IV. "The Mystery of God In Us" is provided to us from Charles and Maxine Roby of Alamogordo, NM. Their article explains how that God is not learned but rather revealed and the Word is not learned until you hear the Spirit of the Lord speak to your heart.
V. "The Repenting of God" provides us with insight regarding the repentance of God. This teaching is given to us by a very close friend and brother in the Lord, Romeo Corsini. Romeo, his wife Christine, and their three beautiful little girls live in the Tampa (Brandon), FL area.
VI. "Receive Me", is a beautiful poem shared by Lori Inge. Lori and
her husband Michael Ray are
very able ministers of the Lord and travel across the country teaching the Body of Christ. They reside in Ft. Myers, FL.
We once again are happy to share the Word of God. These articles are intended to compliment the force of truth for the believer who wants to discover more of Jesus Christ. I pray you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and experience the true Son of Man, now beginning to appear in His temple.
**** Please accept my apology for a printing error which was not caught before reproduction in the last ARISE journal, VOL 2, Nbr 02 - April 1994. The article titled, "Prisoners Of His Will" had two lines at the top of the last page omitted. It should have read "The flesh can not mingle with the Spirit without encountering what is to it calamity and woe but in the Spirit is only a setting aright of the proper order. And those who see in the Spirit and live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit will not be swayed........."
In His Service
Timothy D. Carroll
"ARISE" is free to all as God's way is "Freely you have received,
freely give". The mailing address is listed on the front cover for those
interested in receiving the journal on a regular basis. Additional copies are
available upon request. Notification of change of address is appreciated.
Urged On By Faith
"Urged on by faith Abraham when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go." (Hebrews 11:8, Amplified).
Faith is the sphere -- indeed, FAITH IS, and then follows what FAITH DOES. Obviously God is the Source of faith itself, for He is both "The Author and the Finisher of our faith." In an effort to convey some of the depth of its meaning and working, those who translated the Amplified Translation used several different words to help convey this WORKING - ACTION, such as: "PROMPTED BY ... BECAUSE OF ... URGED ON BY ... ACTUATED BY ... AROUSED BY ... MOTIVATED BY ..." All of these words giving a clear indication that it was FAITH which produced the action which took place. The life which was lived out witnessed to the faith which was in them.
The writer to the Hebrews lays down the irrefutable principle, verse 6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
The first verb "is" is the translation of "estin" which speaks of existence, it IS. The second verb "is" is the translation of "ginomai" which means: to become. The idea is not merely that God exists as a rewarder, but that He will prove Himself to be a rewarder of that person who diligently seeks Him. GOD BECOMES AS ACTIVE REWARDER. This association of the word "ginomai," i.e., BECOME, with God, takes on some very interesting dimensions, and immediately refers us back to the revelation of His name to the Hebrews, "YHWH," which Rotherham gives in his writings, to mean: "I WILL BECOME THAT WHICH I WILL BECOME."
God IS! Indeed, "I AM THAT I AM," is the foundational revelation of our faith. But there is also included a relational application to us as individuals, in that God is BECOMING TO US all that we need, working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, while we are in our process of becoming into Him. Thus we see in the outworking of His purpose of the ages, that God is in the process of His own expansion, and HIS BECOMING TO US results in our BECOMING INTO HIM. In the measure God fulfills His own purpose, He has also fulfilled our destiny.
Peter witnessed a demonstration of the working of God's power, when Jesus pronounced a sentence against a fig tree. The next morning they saw it was dried up from the roots, and Peter mentioned it to Jesus. "And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God." (Mark 11:22). The margin gives, "HAVE THE FAITH OF GOD." This happening was not according to the ability of man, it was supernatural and required the FAITH OF GOD for its accomplishment. Furthermore, since Jesus declared, "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do," (John 5:19), it is obvious that He was operating out of GOD'S FAITH, according to GOD'S PLAN which was BECOMING in the earth.
May God deliver us from man's faith in himself, in his own works, in his own plan, in his own self-efforts, and bring us into GOD'S FAITH, that we might become part of God's glorious plan of the ages, to see His kingdom come, and His will done on earth.
True faith always presupposes a divine revelation as its basis. "By faith Abraham when he was called, went out ..." His going was motivated by a CLEAR WORD FROM THE LORD. "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee." (Genesis 12:1). He had received a glimpse of God's plan, but not a total revelation all in one glorious moment. There was that needful word for the present, and then the promise that "I WILL SHEW THEE," as God revealed to him, by degrees, as he went. On those occasions when he acted "out of himself" with his own scheming, reasoning, it was disastrous, and brought him much sorrow and grief.
Certainly God WAS, and IS, over all, for "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain." (Psalms 76:10). What God does not purpose to ultimately work into good, He restrains from happening. But He has also given man a certain "space" for the exercise of his own will -- to learn even by this negative route, if necessary, "that it is an evil and bitter," (Jeremiah 2:19), to live out of self, rather than out of GOD's FAITH, in oneness with His will.
URGED ON by faith! The word "urge" literally means: to press upon, force or impel onward, to animate, or stimulate. Praise God, HE becomes that INNER STIMULATION to go on to perfection. It becomes a paradox, for while He is our peace, our rest, our cessation from all self-works, etc., yet in another sense He requires a continuous progression, and steadily urges us onward that we might become partakers of His fulness. Faith builds up this inner pressure, until the vision is so compelling that we must give heed, and act thereon -- following on to know the Lord more and more!
IF, however, it is only a "borrowed revelation" which we pick up from another, and not that personal quickening of the Spirit, then it will not produce that sustained action which propels us onward. As long as we receive some input of another's enthusiasm, and their spirit generates a force in us, we might run along with their bandwagon, but if this exterior support wanes, we will also soon lag behind, lose interest, and wait for another to come by and stimulate us with their vision. But when it is an INDWELLING, God-given vision, then His FAITH will urge us ever onward. Yes, even when we pass through those times of outward despair, so that the flesh would like to cast it all aside, yet the vision does not let go of us, but from deep within continues to prod us on.
David once said, "My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my lips." (Psalm 39:3). This can be true in so many ways, both negatively and positively. In self we can think upon a situation until we become stirred into action, whether in anger, or whatever. But it is also true that we can earnestly meditate upon the truth until He quickens a fire within us, and FAITH URGES US ONWARD, to live out that which He makes real within. Self might try to resist some of His urging, but when His Spirit builds up enough pressure within, and the truth becomes such life within that you can contain it no longer, there has to be a release, and we speak out, live out that which is moving within us, etc., and thus we are motivated onward, to walk before Him, pressing on toward the prize of our calling in Him -- even His perfection.
"Now the Lord HAS SAID unto Abraham, Get thee out..." We do not know how long he held this "word" within, while he mused upon it, but the fire burned, and in time he was aroused, impelled to take action, and he went, "unto a land that I will shew thee." From that moment on, like all other men and women of faith who would follow, "he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27). Faith apprehends as a real fact things which are not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. By faith he would sojourn in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles, but he would not accept that this natural land was the ultimate fulfillment of his call. "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
Yes, God had promised the natural land, and He does work out many things on the earth realm. But if we see only the natural, the letter, the law, we will entirely miss the greater -- that spiritual dimension of His reality in which we are BECOMING, even as HE BECOMES IN US. When Abraham left the earthly dwelling places of his father's house, never again would he lay permanent claim upon any earthly place. He would walk out his days, raise his family, have his cattle and possessions, but he was URGED ON BY FAITH TO LOOK FOR THE BETTER REALM, invisible to the natural eye, but more real within than anything this world could produce.
How we need to dwell in His Word, for "Every Scripture is God-breathed - given by His inspiration - and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness, that is, in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose and action. So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well-fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work." (II Timothy 3:16-17, Amplfied).
The man of God will be able to keep ON COURSE as he is rooted and grounded in God's Word, so that it is THE TRUTH WHICH PRESSES HIM ON in holy living, and he will not capitulate to the world's pressure of corruption, nor to any self-will in the matter. Saturated in the revelation of God's will and plan, faith then urges us to walk in conformity to His purpose, which redounds to His glory and praise.
How gloriously our God uses all things, and balances out the negative with the positive as we surrender ourselves to Him completely. Jesus prayed to the Father, "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil." (John 17:15). There is no prayer for escapism, but for Divine protection, and Divine enablement to come through in victory. When faith presses us on, then these outward, negative pressures are used to work for our good, like when "the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste." (Exodus 12:33). God often uses others to press us on, yes, even the world becomes the tool in His hand, thus the Egyptians urged Israel to get moving! When the situation gets to be so intolerable, and we find no outward help along the way, we discover that God has used this to TURN US INWARD, to fix our gaze more firmly upon Him, and we are urged onward in His path for us.
"And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better, that is, an heavenly." (Hebrews 11:15).
IF our minds are FULL of the realm out of which we have been called, and we are not full of the revelation, the vision of the better, then at the first opportunity to return to the old country, we will surely do so. It appears it is one thing to get people out of Babylon, but quite another to get all of Babylon out of the minds of the people. Many are so MINDFUL -- having a mind that is full of all the happenings of Babylon, that they often wistfully long to return to those good old days of their fun, food, and fellowship activities. But when our MIND IS FULL of the revelation of God's purpose, this indwelling faith will urge us onward, it will prompt us, motivate us upward to seek those things which are from above. Indeed, the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
Personal kingdom glories vanish, when our eyes become single to Christ. Spiritual imagery has been stripped and taken away, until we often are numbered with the transgressors -- and the religious world looks upon us as in shame and defeat. Feelings and emotions which have been so exploited by man that they are worn out -- will no longer respond to the carnal hype of our day. Mental stimulus by the will of man no longer gives a spark to energize us onward. Gladly do we turn away from all of this realm of carnality and confusion, that He might quicken an ever-deepening Word within, and faith urges us on to lay hold of that for which we have been apprehended.
Cycle after cycle of sifting and shaking has swept over our nation, and even "some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end." (Daniel 11:35). Sometimes it is a strong delusion that ensnares men. Sometimes it is a religious work which is doing much good on the natural level, that entangles and saps away the life of the faithful. We need not illustrate this from every angle, but we often stand in awe of the twists and turns which the shaking and sifting takes, to see who will abandon the vision, depart from the faith, and give themselves to these various realms. Yet out of all this confusion and turmoil, there is arising a people who KNOW THEIR GOD, they possess HIS FAITH, and it is pressing them on into new dimensions of understanding and truth, which shall bring them into His reality and fulness of life. Therefore, let us not be slothful, "but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:12). amen!
By faith alone the righteous stand upheld by His almighty hand, To dwell as strangers in this land -- to see beyond its barren sand. A higher view of things divine, a righteousness He would make thine. How glorious is His rare design, all former realms to thus outshine. Our earth and heavens He must shake, our stony heart must also break, A new creation He will make, and do it all for His name's sake. 'Tis faith that presses us to rise, impels us on to claim the prize. No more shall evil tyrannize this one whom God now justifies. Yes, it is faith that shall abide, after the flesh is crucified. HIS FAITH alone, and none beside, till we, in Him, are satisfied.
............. Ray Prinzing
These lessons are intended to be basic, elementary, and entry level teachings to better understand the instruction of our Lord. It is with patience and comfort of the scriptures that we rightly discern between our soulish thoughts and our spiritual, confirming by holy script what the Lord has already spoken into our very hearts.
God's Love Towards All - con't
Stained with blood from head to foot, a small child cries in agony to be relieved from his pain. The automobile crash left the little boy screaming for his mother who lay unconscious twenty yards from the scene of the horrible accident as she was thrown out of the window at the time of impact with the oncoming truck. Any attempt to call 911-emergency service is futile at this point in time as the smell of gasoline is all around the car and the nearby truck already is burning in flames. The only hope in saving the child is the onlooking witness at the scene of the accident, ........ you the reader.
So, beloved, I ask you this simple question, "would you attempt to save the small boy?", "Would you relieve him from the awful agonies of the ready fire about to torch his little body?" More than likely, most, if not all, having read this fabricated story had answered "yes" to the challenge. You would have risked your own life to save the child from a momentary, yet unspeakable painful event. Here I am reminded of the words of Jesus, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give......" (Luke 11:13). And while holy script is pregnant with such rich and encouraging words which demonstrate that God is a loving, tender, righteous, and compassionate Father, there remains part of the church which would hold a contrary position, namely that most will not be saved and will be subject to a most painful torture for all of eternity or 'eternal damnation'.
Unlike the documented early teachings of great church fathers like Clemens of Alexandria, 'Origen' Adamantius of Alexandria, Saints Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa, Didymus of Alexandria, Saint Ambrose of Milan, Diodorus - Bishop of Tarsus , Saint Jerome, Rufinus, Basil the Great - Bishop of Cappadocia, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Theodoret - Bishop of Cyrus as well as later century greats as Bishop Westcott, Dr. Samuel Cox, Andrew Jukes, and George MacDonald to name a very few from a long list, the commonly held view of today's religion for the fate of the unbeliever remains closed minded to both divine inspiration and the authority of holy script. Their view is that God, who is more than able to save, would rather cast the majority of His creation into a 'so-called' endless misery of hell and fire, punishing them forever and ever, never forgiving them their sins as they cry out in agony of pain and sorrow and beg for mercy. According to some, the tormented will ask but not receive, they will seek but never find, they will knock but it will never be opened. They will ask for bread and be given a stone, they will ask for fish yet only find a serpent. Even if they were to ask for the Holy Spirit, we are told that the Father would deny them. Damned they are, enemies never to be loved by God all throughout eternity. According to what they say, the majority of God's very own creation is cast away, never to enjoy the mercies of God. Yet I ask, did not Jesus mean what He said, "for every one that asketh....to them shall it be given"? (ref. Luke 11:9-13).
But what does the authority of scripture say regarding this matter? Who shall we believe? In whom is our trust, in the Lord or in men having the form of godliness, yet denying the power thereof? Is not our Lord the God of both the living and the dead? Is He limited to this veil of flesh or the decisions we make while living in this mortal tent? Hear the words of Jesus Himself, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (Jhn 12:32). The greek word for draw is helkuo which means to drag, as to wrap up, pull, move, thrust, or to drive. This is the same word where Peter drew his sword and smote the right ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest. The same word where Peter drew the net to the land having it full of fish. The same word where Paul and Silas were caught and dragged into the marketplace (ref. Diaglott). And last, the same word where Jesus said, "No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him....." (Jhn 6:44). And clearly He does drag us for no man will come to Him, except they be dragged. Stop and think how many times you dug your heels into the ground, unwilling (out of ignorance) to come to Him. Aren't you glad He knew how to break your stubborn will, melt your heart and draw you into His bosom. For we who are born of God were not born of our own will but of God. It was His own will that He begat us, it was not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (ref. Jhn 1:13, James 1:18, Rom 9:16). This is without doubt the total working of God, the handiwork and operation of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. Now allow me to draw (no pun intended) your attention to the rest of John 12:32. So who does He drag? Read the text carefully. It says plainly, He will draw A-L-L men. It does not say a few or some, nor does it say many. It clearly says that He will draw ALL men unto himself. Shall we be guilty of calling Jesus a liar? Should we take party with those who deny the very words of Christ Himself? Why can't we admit we simply do not always understand all the mysteries of God? We need to confess our ignorance and traditions and submit to the divinely inspired, inerrant and trustworthy word of our Lord. Let God be true and every man a liar. Let us submit to the teaching of the Holy Spirit and trust Him to bring truth to us. Run not to indoctrinated bible teachers who will only take away the word that is sown into your heart before it ever takes root and brings forth fruit. Please don't reject the light, for if we turn our backs on truth when brought our way, the light that is in thee becomes darkness, and how great that darkness!
And I ask the question, How could God turn His back on His enemies while commanding us to love our enemies? Wouldn't this make God Himself a hypocrite, an actor telling us to do one thing while doing another Himself? Surely, God is not a hypocrite nor is it possible for Him to perform such an act. Clearly, when Jesus said to "Love your enemies", the words were an expression of the image of the person of God and an outflow of His very essence. "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal 3:6). God does not change. If He commanded us to love our enemies, it is simply because He can do no other than to love His enemies. To say that God cannot change, is to say that His love cannot change. Therefore, His love is changeless. Popular theology would have us believe that God loves His enemies until they die. His love then turns to hate and vengeance. Nay, I say that His love never changes, never fails and is capable of reaching the worst of sinners; swallowing up the darkest of holes and filling the deepest of pits. He will pursue the sinner to the outer darkness, and being Almighty, draw him back to Himself. All of holy script demonstrates such a God which displays this love, a love that is balanced, a love which is tough, disciplining, corrective and still all together perfect.
God's essence is love. It is not His will that any should perish, that any should be so far removed that He could not reach down and pour His love into him. Isn't it comforting to know His heart? Is it not refreshing to be made aware that we have a tender and compassionate Father who cares for His creation and is operating all together for good? And may I add, once God calls a person to return, He never changes His mind. "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29). The Moffatt translation says, "For God never goes back upon his gifts and call". God is without repentance, without turning His mind once He calls somebody to perform a task, for "Surely, as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand" (Isa. 14:24).
So, beloved, God is truly love. God is not anger, though He can be angry. God is not vengeance though He does avenge. These are attributes of His character, but His essence is love. We speak of love, yet still know very little of what it really is. I think that love conquers all and should be what motivates our thoughts, our deeds, our lives. Indeed, it is true as one has said, "love must be the strongest force in the universe". In Proverbs we read, "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins" (Prov. 10:12). "Charity never faileth", said the apostle Paul. His original words were that 'love' or 'agape' never fails. As love matures and has its way with, in and through us, it dispels all that would torment us. Listen to the words of John, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I Jhn. 4:18). Again, "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (I Jhn. 4:16). God IS love. It does not say that God has love, but rather that GOD IS LOVE. His underlying motive originates out of a pure, divine, holy and balanced love. Another person writes, "Yet believing this fact does not eliminate our frustration over such challenges any more than the awareness that God is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will removes the sorrows and pains of present experience. There is great comfort and consolation in knowing that all is out of God, but these are for the fruit of patience, endurance and reliance on the living God, not for escape into some sort of supernatural utopia where comfort and consolation are not needed". - endquote.
How wonderful it is to know that our God has given us an understanding, not only of His ways and His words, but of His very own heart. He is indeed, love. True love may thrust away its object for a season, but only that it may DRAW it back more closely. God permits that man be separated from Him, yet it is only for the purpose that man may be reconciled back to Him. "Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up" (Hos. 6:1). Again, "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand" (Deut. 32:39). God uses the devil, His instrument of destruction for His work. He created the smith which blows on the coals of fire. Sin breaks and crushes us that He may heal and cure us. It has smitten us nearly to death in order that He may make alive. As one has written regarding sin, "Its function is to show God's creatures their utter dependence on His power. It gives them a wholesome horror of existence without Him. It will change them from His creatures to His friends. It will drive them into His bosom." - endquote.
We come back to the issue of who will be saved. More specifically, will all be saved? I ask how anyone can explain away or reconcile such clear and concise statements as those from the apostle Paul? Hear his words. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time". And, "......because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe". Again, "as all die in Adam, so shall all be made alive in Christ. But each in his own division". Also, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father". And, "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all". Nor should we forget that Paul said, "O hell, where is thy victory?" and "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ". Even the beloved disciple John tells us, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (ref. I Tim 2:3-6, 4:10, I Cor 15:22-23, Phil 2:10-11, Rom 11:32, I Cor 15:55, II Cor 5:18, I Jhn 2:2). There are literally dozens (perhaps over a hundred) other scriptural verses which prove that God will not hold an 'eternal judgment' but rather excercise a holy, just and right corrective measure towards those who have disobeyed or rejected him. Modern theology teaches that Christ tries to save all, yet in the end is really defeated. I can not help but to think that this is a disgrace to the cross of Christ and what He had accomplished at calvary. How can God ever fail? Dare we make the Almighty God as unto man? God forbid.
Scripture is clear that all things are issued out of God and all things return back to Him. "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." (Rom. 11:36). It also shows us in the book of Genesis that God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. In fact, all that God does towards us is for our instruction and good. It is written of Clement of Alexandria, that he had learned from a disciple of the apostolic age, and thus believed and taught that 'all the punishments God inflicts upon men are salutary, and executed only for reformation'. Another early church father states, "By God's slaying sinners, their conversion is meant". It is said of perhaps the most learned and foremost of church fathers in history, St. Gregory of Nazianus, that 'he doubted about the pains of the damned, whether they would be endless, or whether they are to be estimated rather in accordance with the mercy of God, so as at some time to be brought to an end' - endquote. It is also said St. Gregory taught that when Christ descended into hell, He liberated not some, but all the souls there in prison.
The old testament prophet Isaiah said, "in mercy shall the throne be established", when referring to Jesus as He sits upon the throne in truth while in the tabernacle of the beloved. I would say that this implies the restoration of all of them who come under its subjection. Shall not even His enemies bow down? The prophet said, "And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isa 2:17). What then is that subjection with which all things are subdued? Can it be none other than SALVATION to be subjected to Christ? Even King David said, "stilled (subjected) is my soul, for from Him is my salvation" (Ps. 62:1-2 CV). St. Basil the Great said regarding Isaiah's words of "every man shall be brought low" that it means "every kind of wickedness in man shall cease".
Surely God's vengeance upon His enemies will purify and purge them until the crooked is finally made straight. You ask for a witness to this? Hear again the words of Isaiah, "Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross,..........Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness." (Isa 1:24 - 27). St. Gregory of Nyssa said that "if God shall be in all things that exist, obviously wickedness shall not be in existence." And if we are to believe the words of the apostle Paul that, "God may be all in all" (I Cor 15:28), then certainly evil must cease to exist and all of God's creatures come to adorn and worship their Creator! Didn't Paul even say that death itself shall be destroyed? Should we believe that death, with its sorrow and agony continue to exist for all of eternity when Paul said it shall be destroyed? Does not the bible teach us that death is cast into the lake of fire? And for what purpose, to suffer? Nay, I say to those who can hear, that God is a consuming fire and will burn away all that keeps His creation from having fellowship and union with Him!
Let us now briefly turn our attention to the word 'damnation' in the New Testament. As stated in past articles, the usage of a word in the context of scripture should determine its meaning. I would also remind the reader to remember that when considering the scripture, keep in mind that it be in accord with the Spirit of the word and not the letter of the word. As with the past studied word, 'hell', I would say that this word 'damnation' is also very misleading. In fact, I believe to be accurate to say the words damnation, damned and damnable are very inaccurate words and should be discarded from modern translations.
In the New Testament, the word 'damnation' in its original Greek appears twenty-eight times. The english words found in many of the modern translations for this Greek word krima include: damnation, condemnation, and judgment. This word means to go to law, condemn, for or against a crime or to judge. The last time this word is used in the scriptures is where I shall start for it sets the proper tone to what this word would mean in the bible. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw......." (Rev. 20:4). Most, if not all bible teachers would say that this verse is referring to the saints of God and that judgment is given to them to perform or execute divine law. The verse says that judgment was given unto them. Now I ask, would it not be absurd to suggest that damnation was given to them? Are the saints of God to be damned? Does it fit? Certainly not. So, we can easily rule out the idea or concept of damnation.
The nineteenth century Church scholar, Samuel Cox wrote on this word, "Take the verb 'to damn,'......let me give those of you who need a little lesson in Greek. It shall be a very short and simple one, and any of you may master it in a minute or two. In the Greek, one of the verbs in the most common use is krinein. Any Lexicon will tell you that it means 'to part, to separate, to discriminate between good and bad,' in short, 'to judge'. From this verb, two nouns are formed, krisis, which means the act of deciding or judging, and krima, which means the sentence, or judgment, which has been reached. From this verb, krinein, moreover, another verb has been formed by prefixing a preposition to it, which intensifies its meaning, kata-krinein, 'to give judgment against, to condemn.' And from this second verb, as from the first, two nouns are formed, kata-krima, 'the sentence of condemnation.' All you need remember is, that in the Greek there is a verb, krinein, which, with its derivatives, means to judge, the act of judging, and the sentence of justice; and another verb, kata-krinein, which, with its derivatives, means to condemn, the act of condemnation and the sentence of condemnation. There are hardly any words in the Greek language more common than these; and there is not, and never has been, any dispute as to their meaning.
Now the former of these two verbs, krinein, with its derivatives, occurs more than a hundred and seventy times in the Greek Testament; more than a hundred and fifty times it is rendered in the English Version by our verb 'to judge,' so that our translators evidently knew its plain meaning and use. Seven times, very needlessly and misleadingly, it is rendered by 'to condemn;' twice by 'to accuse'; and only eight times by 'to damn.' That is to say, our translators render the word in the sense of to damn, only eight times out of nearly a hundred and eighty! So again, with the other Greek verb, kata-krinein, which means to condemn. With its derivatives it is used twenty-four times in the New Testament, and only twice do they render it by 'to damn;' in every other instance they abide by its true meaning - 'to condemn'. - endquote.
Therefore, in scripture where we find Jesus saying, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation." (Matt 23:14) and likewise in Luke, chapter 20, verses 45-47, as warning his disciples of the very same, the meaning would be more accurate as to read, "These shall receive the severer judgment" or "These will be getting more excessive judgment" (C.V). Anyone studying the scriptures can see that the scribes and Pharisees hid their hypocrisy under the law and their judgment or sentence would be more severe, heavier or sharper. Although this indeed is a serious offence, it does not imply that they would be held captive to hell for all eternity. It simply does not say that, nor should it be taught any other way than what it simply says.
The apostle Paul wrote, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." (Rom 13:1-2). Would it be safe for us to assume that if one were to rebel against a higher power, they have subjected themselves to damnation? Nay, it is not unto damnation but rather of getting a corrective and accurate judgment for the crime.
I find it interesting that when Paul spoke of krima in I Timothy, chapter 5:12, "Having damnation...", it is not possible to mean 'to be damned', but rather judged. Consider the story according to the concordant commentary. "It is supposed that a list of church widows was kept, which probably included all widows of sixty years and over, whether self-supporting or not. Those who were entered on this list undertook certain duties and promised to give themselves to the work. The younger widows were not to be put on this list lest they should tire of their promise and break faith. They might grow restive, and so fall into judgment." - endquote. Certainly, such a woman will never be damned for breaking her vow. Now she may be judged rather harsh for breaking the vow, whether by God, the men or especially the women. And perhaps rightfully so, for vows of all sort should not be taken lightly nor broken.
Paul also wrote concerning those who have a conscience about partaking of certain foods and being easily offended and connected it to the idea of condemnation, never damnation. "Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Rom 14:22-23). Here we have a weak brother who thinks it wrong to eat certain foods (e.g., food offered to idols, etc.) yet modern theologians would suggest he is damned. Damned to what I ask, to hell? Come now, are we as superstitious as certain philosophers whom Paul preached in the midst of Mars hill?
Also when Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation" (Mark 3:29). A better reading only affirms that such a person is in danger of age-abiding judgment. That is, having no pardon for the age. And in reading Matthew, chapter 23, verse 33, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?", it should more clearly read, "How may you be fleeing from the judging of gehenna?" (C.V).
To close, just as past articles have dealt with words like 'hell' and 'eternity', once again we find yet another word, 'damnation', which is misunderstood and perhaps even misleading. The character of God is mercy and love towards all. The character of God would not only save the small boy from the agony and pain as portrayed in the opening story, the character of God would and will save His creation from the agony and torments of hell. It is true that scripture time and time again proves that all men will be saved, regardless of what some may teach or say. This is a conclusion I state with satisfaction for I find both the witness of the Spirit of God and the holy script to prove it to be so. Indeed, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach GOOD NEWS."!!!
To be continued.......T.D.C.
The Concept of Circularity
In the main graveyard of the writer's home town, Racine, Wisconsin, stands a monument of one of the most influential men to serve as mayor of that city. On his large monument are written these words, "This world is my home, to do good is my religion, why did a good God create a bad devil?" There is probably no subject in the range of religious thought that is so hard to deal with than the purpose of evil. Writers on Biblical lore have tried to account for the origin of evil; but perhaps, the real difficulty that these writers have dealt with is this: "How can we account for the existence of evil alongside of a supreme, all wise, holy and benevolent God?" Think of the conditions in this world -- evil exists on earth to embitter and darken, to blight and curse everything else that exists on the earth. It goes like a hugh juggernaut car, feature of it all, it crushes without distinction the innocent and guilty together in one common quagmire of sin, suffering and death. God, Who could stop it all, allows it to go on. Jesus alludes to this problem in Luke 13:1 where we read these words, "There were present at that season some that told Him (Jesus) of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, 'Suppose you that these Galilaeans were sinners more than other Galilaeans because they suffered such things?... or those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?'" (Luke 13:1, 2, 4).
Think of the wars where the innocent have suffered, the slaughter of the Waldenses and Albegenses, the massacre of St. Bartholomew in the 18th century when thousands of French Protestants were slaughtered. Think of the cruelties of the Spanish Inquisition; add the decades, centuries of butchery and blood that has cursed this world from fratricidal Cain down to the present time. Try to reconcile all this with the existence in the same universe of a God of infinite power and love and no one can give us a clear answer. We need turn to God's Word for help for answers to this problem.
"I form light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things," (Isaiah 45:7) This passage explains the existence of evil as that which God has created. This does not mean the evil to be just physical evil, famines, pestilences, tornados, etc., things that God controls and sends upon mankind as punishment for their wickedness. The word rendered evil is the one commonly used throughout the Old Testament to denote wickedness, sin, wrong doing in some five hundred passages. It is used, for example, in Genesis 6:5, Numbers 14:27, Deuteronomy 31:29, I Kings 11:6, 16:30, Psalms 34:21 plus other places. The very same word in the original is rendered "wicked" and "wickedness" more than a hundred times. A few examples would be in Genesis 6:5, 13:13 and Psalms 94:23.
Because God is infinitely good and wise, and evil is one of His creatures, it must be that evil shall ultimately end; after God has used it for His purpose. In the case of faithful Job, God used the creature called the devil to bring reverses and trials in this man's life. In the narrative, we read how God put restraints on the devil. "And the Lord said unto Satan, behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand." (Job 1:12) God allowed the devil to touch Job's possessions and even his health, but God put "restrictions" on the devil. The devil could not take his life. The devil was as a watch dog controlled by a greater Power, God, and in this case, the devil was as a dog on a chain. He could only go so far in the life of this good man, Job.
Paul says in Ephesians 1:11, ".... According to the purpose of Him Who works all things after the council of His own will.". Since God can work all things after the counsel of His will, then we can believe that God can use evil to accomplish His purpose and can overrule evil for good, too. Why would a loving, all merciful God allow us to experience evil and the power of an evil source? It is for spiritual development. God, Who allows us to be tempted, tried, and to be under the pressure of evil, allows us to avail ourselves of His grace and His power. God may allow evil to come to us so that we may "exercise" our spiritual resources. Diamonds are made from coal placed under great pressure, a precious pearl comes from an injury, pure gold comes from the process of enduring great heat, steel is made in the fire. Even life teaches us that evil and suffering has a purpose in the bringing forth of the precious end result. (I Corinthians 10:16)
There could be no manifestation of the Father's love if there had been no such thing as evil. We might believe that a friend loved us even though his love had never been especially tested; but we never could fully appreciate his love unless circumstances transpired to give him an opportunity to exhibit it in all its strength and fullness. So we could never understand fully the love of God had not our lost and wretched condition furnished the Father with an opportunity for manifesting that love. Paul says, "when we were without strength, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6)
It was "when we were without strength" that Christ died for us. Paul says in Romans 5:8, "God commended His love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It was because we were in such an evil case, "without strength" and "sinners", that the love that sent the Deliverer is so marked and readily appreciated. If we had never come under the power of evil, we would never appreciate the extreme manifestation of the love for us.
Scripture gives us direct testimony that God uses evil for the accomplishment of His plans. God used the evil of the Egyptians to put in the heart of Israel a desire to leave Egypt. Israel submitted to God's man, Moses, to lead them out. God used pagan Babylon to put a desire in the heart of Nehemiah, Ezra, and Zerubbabel to lead the remnant back to the Holy Land and to start the process of rebuilding the Temple and its walls. Some believe that God used Hitler to put a desire in the Jews to begin modern Israel. We can see again that God can and does use evil for the accomplishment of His plans. For instance, in Judges 9:23, we see that Abimelech by an atrocious crime had obtained the rulership of Israel, and to punish him, "God sent an evil spirit between him and the men of Shechem," and the result was the punishment of all the guilty parties. In I Samuel 16:14, "The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." This evil spirit did not come from the devil, nor from hell, but "from the Lord", to do God's bidding. In I Kings 22:23, the Lord is represented as using a "lying spirit" in order to deceive wicked Ahab for his own destruction. As mentioned earlier, the most perfect illustration of this truth is seen in the life of Job. The Lord speaks of that man, Job, as His servant Job. "There is none like him in the earth, perfect and an upright man, one who fears God and hates evil." Yet Job is that illustration of how God uses evil as an instrument for good. The last part of Job's life was better than his first part. James uses Job as an example of Christian patience and virtue. "Behold, we count them happy as endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." (James 5:11)
Job was a better person after going through his trial. Joseph was a different man after enduring his trials. Moses could not be used until he was in the back side of the desert. Often, the person God chooses to use will find that there is first a time of training. Frustrations and tribulations which we complain come from the "devil", God has used for our good in the end. The purpose of evil is to develop in our characters attributes akin to God: pity, mercy, compassion, charity, gentleness, patience, etc. The Bible teaches us that tribulations (evil trials) works patience in us. (Romans 5:3)
Paul says in II Corinthians 1:4, "God who comforts us in our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble wherewith we ourselves are comforted by God." Paul continues with saying that as the "sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ." (II Corinthians 1:5) Compassion abounds within us when we have been through our trials and after the trial has done its work within us, we are able to minister to someone else in the same trial. We can sympathize with that person "knowing what it is like to be in the same situation." A mother who has lost a child in death can minister more effectively to a family who has lost a child in death. A family who has not endured any pain of death will not be as effective. Knowing this, we can thank God for the trials He has sent us. Good and evil, sunshine and rain, all in their order, perfect in us the inward character of Christ. There is a saying, "all sunshine and no rain makes for a desert."
Our New Testament teaches this truth also. In Matthew and in Mark, we read of the temptations of Jesus. In both cases, we read that the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. The Holy Spirit of God drives the sinless Jesus into the wilderness among wild beasts to be tempted of the devil. And after Jesus was tempted, He was tried, tested and proven to be the Perfect One who would complete His work of saving the world by dying on the cross.
The Apostle Paul had "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of satan to buffet me lest I should be exalted above measure. (II Corinthians 12:7) God used satan to keep Paul humbled so that he would not become proud because of his great revelations which God had given him. Perhaps the great Epistle of Romans that Paul wrote, contain these revelations, expressing great and inexhaustible truths for these 2000 years.
Paul used evil discipline. In Corinthians, Paul says to deliver an unrighteous member to "satan" for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:5) And Paul declares in his letter to Timothy that he himself delivered certain ones unto satan, "that they might learn not to blaspheme." (I Timothy 1:20)
We can conclude then, that satan (though he is unwilling and rebellious) is God's servant to carry out His plans. Satan is as much under God's control, and works just as truly under God's direction, as does the angel Gabriel. Thus, the purpose of evil is that the Great Plan of God is being worked out. God is using all these things sin, corruption, chaos and death, to move this universe on to holiness, purity, order and life eternal. The final outcome of God's Plan, using good and evil, is to have this creation bow in reverence one day to the Son, to confess willingly that Jesus is Lord to the Glory of God. Yes, the absolute final outcome is that death shall be swallowed up in victory. Evil when its work is finished will be banished, and everything shall praise the Lord. "For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him (God) Who has subjected the same (creation) in hope." (Romans 8:20)
Before there was the central theme of the Atonement, there had to be man. The Bible tells us clearly and distinctly that the origin of man lies in the special immediate, creative and formative acts of God. (Genesis 1:27; 2:7) There have been various theories of the origin of man apart from God's Word. First of all, man was not made by abigenesis or spontaneous production of the earth. The earth was assumed to be pregnant with the germs of all living organisms, which were quickened under favorable circumstances, or it was regarded as instinct with a productive life. The more modern view of abigenesis; i.e., that life is the product of physical causes, that all that is requisite for its production is to bring together the necessary conditions. This theory is not taught in the first Book of the Bible.
Nor does the Bible tell us that mankind came by evolution, or natural development. Evolution is a philosophical and speculative theory of recent origin which seeks to account for the various elements and compounds of the inorganic world (cosmic evolution), and also for the countless species in the organic world (organic evolution). The evolutionary theory does not meet three basis scientific principles: Life begets life (Louis Pasteur - 1840's), the second law of thermodynamics (energy runs down) and the law of observation (a theory must be tested by observation). Since the evolutionary theory doesn't fit any of the above, why accept it as fact when it is still only a theory.
Will Durant, humanist and historian, stated once that Darwinism (father of the theory of evolution) propelled Western Civilization into paganism by offering us evolution in place of God as a cause of history. Durant stated also that Darwinism and his theory removed the theological basis of moral code of Christendom to society.
The writer accepts completely the Genesis account for the creation of man, plants, animals and other living things as given in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis. In the third chapter of the Book of Genesis, the central theme of the Bible is the Atonement. After the fall of Adam and Eve into the sin of disobedience, God came to man and the first counselling session is reported by Scripture. God came to Adam and Eve and told them of the Promise of a coming Saviour. In Genesis 3:15, God says to the devil, "And I (the Lord) will put enmity between you (the devil) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it (her seed) shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel (seed of the woman)."
God gave to Adam and Eve a "type and shadow" of the coming Atoning One, Jesus the Messiah. When God clothed His Creation with skins of animals, God revealed then by the shedding of blood, that man could be clothed in skins of the slain animal. Jesus fulfilled that "type and shadow" by allowing His Blood to be shed and that His righteousness would clothe us before God and man. Adam and Eve did not see the end result, but because they believed God's Word, their faith was counted for their salvation and righteousness in the "promised" Messiah.
God kept this truth alive in the hearts of man. The remission of sin would be by the shedding of blood. Abel, the righteous man, brought the sacrificed lamb in worship and God accepted him and his worship. Cain brought the "works of his hands" and was rejected. Later God emphasized this truth to the nation of Israel when at the first Passover, the Israelites applied the blood of a perfect lamb to the doorposts of their homes and the Angel of death "passed over" them. The sacrifices in the Old Testament attest to the truth that blood had to be shed and life given for God to accept their worship. It was the high priest who once a year went into the Holy of Holies to place the blood of the sacrificed animal on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
In both the old covenant (Old Testament) and in the new covenant (New Testament), the truth of "blood sacrifice" is seen. It was by the blood of animals that God kept the thought of redemption through the shedding of blood alive. The shedding of blood of the animals in the past were types and shadows of the REAL THING.
The Book of Hebrews clarifies this truth very well. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of bulls and of goats, and the sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh; How much more shall the Blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause He (Christ) is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:11-15) "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Galations 4:4 and 5)
God first took the initiative with Adam and Eve with the promise of a Redeemer, now God, "in the fulness of time", took the initiative again and sent His Gift of His Son, the Redeemer of the world. Paul states in Ephesians 2:1, that when we were dead in trepasses and sins, walking according to the course of the world, under the power of the prince of the power of the air, etc., "God Who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ Jesus." Thus the Bible does not mention our salvation in the realm of "chance" or in the terms of man's choice. John 1:13 speaks of us being born of God's family by the work of God only. Here is what this section of the Word says, "which were born not of blood (family relationships), nor of the will of the flesh (the individual will) nor of the will of man (will of any human being), but of God (God's Will only)." In John 15:16, "You have not chosen Me, but I have you." Ephesians 2:8 tells us that our salvation is a GIFT of God. Our lives and our salvation (our totality, our physical life, our spiritual life) is given us by God. It is God alone Who has made us physically and Who has made us what we are spiritually.
The Bible states succinctly that "Christ was slain from the foundation of the world." In Romans 8:20, "For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him (God) Who has subjected the same (creation) in hope." God is stating that He was responsible for the introduction of evil and the fall of man. It was all in His plan. It was in the Plan of God for the redemption of man. It was in the plan of God that God would redeem mankind through the suffering, death and resurrection of His Son. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the Saviour because He bore the just penalty for sin. "Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God." (I Peter 3:18) "Him who knew no sin, He (God) made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (II Corinthians 5:21) "Who His own self bare our sins in His body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by Whose stripes you were healed." (I Peter 2:24) "And he is the propitiation (act of atonement) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." (I John 2:2) "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trepasses unto them." (II Corinthians 5:19) "God so loved the world (world of humanity) that God gave His only begotten Son." (John 3:16) LOVE that God had for us was the motive power that made God the prime mover in sending forth His Son for our salvation.
To summarize, 1). The atonement was made to reveal the love of God for us. 2). The justice of God was for man, insuring his salvation. 3). God was in perfect harmony and accord with Christ's atonement for us. 4). The atonement was the work of God in Christ to reconcile the world to Himself. 5). God, by His ministers, beseeches sinners and makes them willing to be pardoned. (II Corinthians 5:20) 6). The atonement is to propitiate man to God and to make God known to man. 7). Christ died as our companion, identified with man and for man, so that we might know favor and love of God. 8). Christ died to save us from the penalty of sin and from sin itself. 9). Christ did not die that we might not die, but to deliver us out of a death in which we were already involved. 10). The sinner is not redeemed because he repents, but he is called upon to repent because he has been redeemed. 11). The atonement is the flowing out of God's love to mankind. 12). The final outcome of the atoning plan is not a partial success, but a perfect, absolute and universal triumph. The outcome of objective justification is that all who died in Adam will be the same all that are justified and redeemed in Christ Jesus.
In Philippians 2:10 and 11, Paul says "that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow of things in Heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." In the Greek, the word "bow" means to bend the knees in spiritual veneration. Paul uses the same word, in Ephesians 3:14, when he says that he bows to the Father. If Paul willingly bows to the Father in love, then how can we say that all of humanity when aware of this great salvation and atonement for them, will not bow in love and veneration -- not out of force? If by force, then how can that be to the glory of the Father? There is no forcing here, but a willingness in all realms. Paul says that every tongue shall confess Jesus as Lord to the glory of God the Father. In I Corinthians 12:3b, Paul says that no one can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit of God can give man the POWER to confess Jesus as Lord. Then Romans 10:9 tells us, "If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, you shall be saved," Paul presents the entire realm of humanity as voluntarily kneeling and voluntarily confessing Jesus as Lord!
To be continued................ Dr. Jack E. Jacobsen
The Mystery Of God In Us
"Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:9, 10 and 11).
Several years ago I heard HIS VOICE, HE whispered to me and said: "I AM going to reduce you to nothing but ME and MY purpose." A few days later I heard HIM speaking again, deep within my being, and HE said: You have never heard MY WORD until you hear MY SPIRIT SPEAK!" The LORD JESUS HIMSELF said: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God" (Matthew 5:8 and 9, NIV). Our Brother, the apostle John, asked the question: "If you do not love someone whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen?" (I John 4:20).
Many years ago when the LORD HIMSELF apprehended me, opened up the eyes of my understanding to see the glorious LIGHT of the KINGDOM of GOD, that dispels all darkness, I saw the LORD Almighty God in HIS people! It is impossible to see God without seeing HIM in HIS people! I have made the statement over many years now, that I am persuaded that if you do not see God in HIS people, you will never see God! Our Father wants you and me to wake up to the truth that every human person is created by HIM, to fulfill HIS purpose on this earth. The way to really LOVE God is to LOVE people. It is so simple that a fool should not err therein: To LOVE God is to LOVE others. Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, as our brother, the apostle John said, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18). The way we respond to them, is the way we respond to HIM!
The LORD is truly rearranging all our lives, reducing us to nothing but HIMSELF and HIS glorious purpose. There are many things we don't understand yet, and we cannot explain all the strange things that are happening in our lives at this present time. In spite of all our circumstances, the PRESENCE of God within us causes us to know, HE is in complete control, and HE will, and HE is, bringing us forth in VICTORY over the bondage that causes corruption and death!
We need one another, and the greatest gift we can give one another is LOVE. Our brother Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthian believers: "Prophecies shall fail, tongues will cease, and knowledge shall vanish away" - and they have - "but LOVE never fails." I John 4:16 tells us: "God is LOVE; and he that dwelleth in LOVE dwelleth in God, and God in him." Nearly 2000 years ago, the LORD JESUS HIMSELF said: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another" (John 13:34 and 35).
As you know, the only way we know God or the things pertaining to the KINGDOM of God, is by the Spirit of God! Our natural mind cannot comprehend this great mystery (God in us), but Almighty God, who is our FATHER, has revealed it unto us by HIS Spirit; that we are flesh of HIS flesh, and bone of HIS bone! (Please read I Corinthians 2:6 thru 16). This is not the hour to see HIM as HE was, but this is the hour to see HIM as HE is. HE is ALIVE in you and me! God's great Family, the many membered Body of CHRIST is being awakened in true consciousness that God lives in us, God moves in us, and God has HIS Being in us! We are ONE, and by the Glorious PRESENCE of Almighty God who dwells within us; we can with all the authority of heaven and earth declare even as the LORD JESUS HIMSELF, who was the FIRSTBORN of this NEW CREATION that we are; as He said: "I and MY FATHER are ONE" (John 10:30). No one in this great family should separate themselves from ONE another. It does not matter what we believe individually, we need to bear with ONE another and be more tolerant of one another, and accept every man (male and female) in his own order. We have seen God's people war among themselves over words and terminology - it should not be in this Family of God. As a messenger of the NEW COVENANT, I feel compelled by the Spirit to remind you of the LORD'S prayer in John 17:22 and 23. "I have given them the glory that you gave ME, that they may be ONE as we are ONE: I them and you in ME. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that YOU sent ME and have LOVED them even as you have LOVED ME."
The SPIRIT of GOD also reminds me of what our brother Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6 "For in CHRIST JESUS neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by LOVE." God works through you and me! Our brother Paul wrote in I Corinthians 6:17, "HE that is joined unto the LORD is ONE SPIRIT." The amplified bible says, "The person who is united to the LORD becomes ONE SPIRIT with HIM." There is an awareness of the "CHRIST IN US," and that wonderful "PRESENCE" within causes us to know - we are complete in HIM. (Please read Colossians 2:9 and 10.) The Kingdom of God first in our life is all that really matters, and the LORD HIMSELF knows just how to draw us into full fellowship - the illuminated consciousness of our true "LIFE" that leads us and guides us into all TRUTH. We are asking our FATHER to open new doors - PEOPLE - (Psalms 24:7) for Maxine and I to minister to - to make all men see and understand the mystery of this glorious fellowship. JESUS said, "The kingdom of God is within you!"
This is truly a new day and a glorious new way for us to walk in HIM - the CHRIST within us - who is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (I Corinthians 1:24 thru 31). Our spirits want to sing: "HE is LORD, HE is LORD, HE has risen from the dead and HE is LORD. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD." (Colossians 1:15 thru 20). What a glorious Day this is for all who have been awakened- quickened by the same "SPIRIT" that raised up the dead body of JESUS. This is the Day, and we are that people chosen in "HIM", before the world ever existed, to reveal the FATHER'S full Glory and bless all the families on this planet we call earth! This is that glorious day that the living CHRIST was speaking about in John 14:20: "When that day fully comes you shall know that I AM in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." Yes, this is that day!
God is causing HIS people to know they are HIS dwelling place. The most powerful concept you can hold is that God is in you! (Please read and rejoice in the truth that is written in I Corinthians 3:16, and Revelation 21:1 thru 7). Let me also remind you: "God is LOVE, and LOVE never fails." We love you, and we love God's glorious predestinated purpose that is working in all of us; as I John 4:4 says: "Greater is HE that is in you, than he that is in the world." Isn't it wonderful to know the LORD is truly a LIVING PRESENCE in your life! HE BECAME WHAT WE ARE SO WE COULD BECOME WHAT HE IS! II Corinthians 5:21, NIV, says: "God made HIM who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in HIM we might become the righteousness of God." But please know, this righteousness does not come without cost, and a great portion of that cost is judgment; and how can we forget that judgment must begin at the HOUSE of the Lord? - whose HOUSE we are. The Spirit of Truth continues to witness with my spirit and awakens me to the full reality that - "I AM MY FATHER'S HOUSE!"
Many of us are experiencing the fan in HIS hand, for HE is truly purging our floor. The unquenchable fire of the HOLY GHOST is burning up the wood, hay and stubble in our individual lives right here and now. This is not a pleasant experience to our humanity, but it teaches us to rely only on our true source of life, "HIS PRESENCE" that bears witness with our spirits, that we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with CHRIST. At this present time, all true heirs of God who have ears can hear HIS VOICE saying: "ARISE, shine, for thy light is come, and the GLORY of the LORD is risen upon you."
Religious, dead letter teachers continue to say, "Someday in the sweet by and by" - blind leading the blind. The true messengers of this NEW COVENANT are speaking the present day truth in LOVE, right here and now. We are being changed, transformed into the exact likeness (not a physical image) by the Spirit; because we see HIM as HE really is! It is sad to say, but many groups meeting around the world do not see beyond their own little gatherings. This great Fellowship that is happening is a BODY - Many Membered - LIVELY STONES fitly joined together by ONE SPIRIT for ONE Glorious purpose. It is not a geographic location in Texas, Florida or California. As my dear friend in CHRIST, J. Preston Eby writes: "The journey to the throne of the universe begins in that small and undistinguished place where you are. The Kingdom of God is within you."
This understanding does not come by reading or praying. There is nothing wrong with reading or praying. There are times when we do both, but remember always: "GOD IS NOT LEARNED, GOD IS REVEALED." It is written: "EYE HATH NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NEITHER HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN, THE THINGS WHICH GOD HATH PREPARED FOR THEM THAT LOVE HIM. BUT GOD HATH REVEALED THEM UNTO US BY HIS SPIRIT: FOR NOTHING IS HIDDEN FROM THE SPIRIT, NOT EVEN THE DEEP WISDOM OF GOD." (I Corinthians 2:9 and 10). True FAITH does not come by reading or praying. As Paul wrote in his letter to believers at Rome: "Faith comes only by hearing the WORD (VOICE) of God." Paul was not talking about a preacher quoting verses out of the bible. Our same brother Paul wrote to the Family of God who met at Corinth and said: "HE has made us ABLE ministers of the NEW TESTAMENT; (not a book written with pen and ink) not of the letter, but of the SPIRIT: for the letter killeth, but the SPIRIT giveth LIFE."
It was said of our brother in CHRIST: "This man is perverting men's minds to make them worship God in a way that is contrary to the law" (Acts 17:13). Hallelujah! What a great compliment to anyone called to be a messenger of the NEW COVENANT that we are. This NEW COVENANT is written in our minds and fleshly tablets of our heart. (Hebrews 8:10, thru 13). Once again, I AM compelled by the PRESENCE of God who is our FATHER, and who dwells within us, to remind you, the most powerful revelation you can experience is that GOD IS IN YOU! In the 17th chapter of Acts, we read there was a group of Jews and God fearing Greeks who wanted to hear this new teaching about JESUS and the RESURRECTION. They said: "You are bringing some new strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." Our brother Paul told them: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with the inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I AM going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the LORD of heaven and earth, and does not LIVE in temples made with human hands." (Acts 17:23-24).
In Acts 17:28 Paul declared: "In HIM we live, and move, and have our being." I pray right now as you read these words, that you will experience the full reality that God lives in you, God moves in you, and God has HIS being in you! (Please consider I Corinthians 6:12, thru 20).
We genuinely LOVE you, and we earnestly pray that LIFE - HIS EVERABIDING LIFE - and our God's glorious purpose that is being worked out by HIS SPIRIT in all our lives, will consume you. Deep within I continue to hear our FATHER's VOICE, saying: "YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD MY WORD UNTIL YOU HEAR MY SPIRIT SPEAK!" We live because HE lives in us!
..................Charles & Maxine Roby
The Repenting of God
In the earthly realm it is said, and rightly so, that death is better than life in a prison. So it should be. Yet in the kingdom of God, I would gladly submit myself to being a prisoner of God than to have this earthly life of death and blindness, of unsurety and indecisiveness, of war between knowledge and preference, of superstitions that amount to nothing more than empty, vain, and useless attempts at filling this death-life with flesh. In my search to know more of God, to understand why He leaves me yet here, after having saved or delivered me unto Himself, to wrestle with daily struggles against the flesh with the spirit, I have found a yearning to be under His subjection. I have found a wailing cry, calling unto Him to let me be controlled by Him that I might be spared the responsibility of falling victim to the whims of this body of death. I have found a constant need of protection from even my own condemnation. Ever present is the reminder that nothing that I think or do escapes the eyes and ears of the One who loves me. I have found the mercies of God.
The need to be forgiven is constant in the flesh; but the Spirit knows the truth of God's ultimate and final victory over sin, over judgment. There is no more price to pay; there is only a revelation to seek, an answer to find. Do I still have to invent a payment for the daily sins that trap me? And if I still need to say, "Lord, forgive me", do I still wait for consequences as they do who dread God? Did God, from the beginning, determine that, in creating me, He would succeed in having me live in His grace forever? Did He succeed? Or has He ever changed His mind?
A good brother in the Lord lately has told me that he was utterly convinced that, since God is sovereign (his interpretation for that word is that God can do anything He pleases therefore...), God can change His mind. This man proceeded to sight passages in the Word where it refers to God's repenting of one thing or another.
There is a difference between one changing his mind about a judgment and one forgiving. In Exodus 32:14 we read: "And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people." God is not a man that He should change His mind. God had declared that, because the people had corrupted themselves, He would smite them; but Moses prayed on their behalf, entreating the Lord not to punish them, saying: "Turn from thy burning anger and change thy mind about doing harm to Thy people." (Exodus 32:12 NAS) What is the difference between asking someone to change his mind about a punishment and asking that person to forgive? Jesus declared the same thing when He cried out unto the Father His empathy: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." God forgives; He does not change His mind. Does He ever make a mistake that He should stop in midstream and re-assess His thinking? What chaos there would then be in life and the world! The prayers of Moses on his brothers' and sisters' behalf were answered by the Lord with forgiveness.
In Jonah 3:10 can be read a similar situation, except that the people repent and pray for themselves. "'But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish? When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." (Jonah 3:8-10) Whereupon, Jonah thought himself to have good reason to be angry since it was God who had told him to inform the people of the calamity that God was going to bring upon them. He had originally run from God's command to do so because he knew God was a forgiving God and it would have been pointless to preach to the people. (Jonah 3:2) "But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, 'Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity." O, how much I can see of God's mercy unto me when I think, that I, too, by accepting the message of His Son and the messenger himself, receive that mercy and forgiveness. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? (Romans 10:14-15).
It is the Father whom we seek and Jesus who was sent to speak of Him we might know the Father to believe in Him. "I say, then," continues Paul, "hath God cast away His people? God forbid...God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." (Romans 11:1-2) Again, he continues in chapter 11:25 of Romans: "....this partial blindness has come upon Israel only until the Gentiles have been admitted in full strength." (N.E.B)
The wickedness of a man's heart is measured by the degree of his forgiveness of his enemies. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Shall not our most righteous God abide by His own word? Let God be true and every man a liar! (Rom. 3:4).
Yet do I see and hear the very opposite from some of my own brethren in the faith. They claim that there is a limit to God's forgiveness by introducing that "ultimate" test of eternal damnation..... "Can Hitler be saved?"! Or it may be some other scheme concocted in their limited forgiving minds..... or should I say hearts.... such as "the heathen who reject Christ." In what instant did God the Father change His mind about saving the entire creation? Was it before Christ died or after Christ died? Let us be aware that God has never lost sight of who we are to Him from the time His love willed us into being. It is man who has determined what God is or isn't to man! And of the heathen.... are we not told that they are dead? In Luke 9:60 Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." .... And again that they are blind? Matthew 15:14 says, "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." So then when we consider the issue of God's love towards all, God's reconciliation of all things, God's ultimate salvation of all His creation, we must remember that we do not see as He sees, we cannot understand as He can, nor can we love as He loves. Isaiah 55:8-9 reads, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Is God not to have compassion on those He has Himself called dead and blind? How can a dead man become alive or a blind man see by his own efforts? Jonah 4:10-11 reads, "Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their lefthand; and also much cattle?" Ps. 36:6 shows us that God preserves man and beast.
When we consider that the right hand is symbolic of faithfulness, honesty, and power and the left hand is symbolic of error, distrust, and wrong thinking, the Ninevites, then, represent all those who are dead and blind, who do not know how to discern the Spirit of God. Clearly a blind man who is born blind cannot be expected to judge what is eternal. I Corinthians 2:11 & 14 reads, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him: even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.... But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Malachi 3:6 "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." I Samuel 15:29 "And also the strength of Israel will not lie or repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent."
Let it be, then, O Lord, that you do WILL that all men be your children, that all your creation be included in the deliverance championed by your son, Jesus. Let it stand that you are perfect in your righteousness and judgment, that your decisions are without fault. If your will be a prison, let me be a prisoner of your will that I might be protected from the death of my flesh. (Job 23:13, Malachi 3:6, Jonah 3:10).
To be continued..........Romeo Corsini