"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 mostly from those of us fellowshipping in the Tampa, Florida 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 nineteenth issue of "ARISE" features:
I. "How Big Is God?" is provided by the author of the ARISE publication.
in Valrico (Tampa), FL with his wife Melissa and baby girl Nicole Anna.
II. "Peace" comes from a dear friend and fine teacher, Romeo Corsini.
He and his wife
Christine live in Brandon (Tampa), FL. They have three little girls.
III. "The Mystery Of Iniquity" is provided by good friend and teacher,
John Tabone. Brother
John had "fathered" the author of this journal in the kingdom message some 15 years ago.
He and his wife Joan reside in Pittston (Wilkes-Barre), PA. They are the parents of 5 children.
IV. "From Creation To The Consummation" is made available from our close friend, Brother Jack Jacobsen. This is the seventh of sixteen chapters collected from his dissertation for a doctorate of philosophy degree. Jack and his wife Marjorie has taken residence in New Port Richey (Tampa), FL area. They are originally from Minneapolis, MN.
V. "In Your Image" is a wonderful inspiration provided by Sister
Lori Renee Inge. This particular
poem seemed quite appropriate as one article provides insight on ages through time. Lori
and her husband Michael Ray are able ministers sharing the "good news" of Christ to God's
people across the nation. They reside in Cape Coral, FL.
We pray that this publication ministers life and truth to all as God continues to draw us closer to Him. We desire His truth and righteousness to serve as a light to all that are in darkness and slaves to sin. We find comfort in the fact that every man is in his own order and shall be made alive in the Christ when the Father sees fit. We pray to be found faithful as He graciously uses man as an instrument to redeem His creation.
We ask for your prayers as God continues to guide our steps through our daily travail and processing. We are thankful for those God has put in our path in this land of the living. He continues to teach us more about ourselves through others. Teach us your ways, O Lord!
Our little baby Nicole Anna is a few months past one year and finally has teeth, four to be exact. She has lost much of her baby fat being so active and on the move. She seems to love her bottle, blanket and teddy bear. She has several words down already, I especially like "da". It grabs my attention everytime. Babies... what a joy! We serve such a wonderful God!!
In His Service
Timothy D. and Melissa Carroll (**Please note new address on front page)
"A R I S E" is free to all as God's way is "Freely you have received, freely give". We trust God to lay it upon the hearts of those He chooses to provide the means for printing and sending out this journal. Please write if you are interested in receiving the journal on a regular basis. Additional copies available upon request. Notification of change of address is appreciated.
Fellowship meetings currently held every first and third Saturday evening in Brandon, FL. Contact numbers are: (813) 653-3711; (813) 653-1604; (813) 651-0334. Sunshine Cathedral meetings every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening; contact number is (813) 737-3966.
How Big Is God?
Some fifteen years ago I had come across a man hitch hiking one late cold night in the hills of NorthEastern Pennsylvannia. I was just returning home to my Grandma's from a Bible study and was full of excitement. As I shared with this young man regarding the omnipotence of God, I recall that he asked me a question which went something like this, "If God is all powerful as you say, can He create a rock so large that even He cannot move it?" Of course, in his worldly wisdom, he felt that he cited a paradox which could not be answered, thus attempting to dispute the power of God. If I said yes, then his reasoning would have been 'how can God be all powerful yet not able to move such a rock?'. If I answered no, then the same argument would have been, 'how can an all powerful God not be able to create such a rock?'. I did not answer him, yet the question stayed with me that entire night. Then it was revealed to me, it is not a paradox, it has a rather simple answer. If God were to create a rock so large that it could not be moved, a rock so big that it filled all of space, every dimension so there was not a fraction of an inch to where it could be moved, then part of the puzzle was answered. Simply put, there would be no place for this rock to go, it would fill the entire universe. But what about the other part of the question, "can He create a rock so large that even He cannot move it?" To satisfy this part of the question, rather then having the word 'cannot' stumble us, it really becomes one of willingness. Simply put, God would create the all encompassing rock and then become the rock itself, a rock that fills all, everything everywhere!
Recently I find myself spending more time on a foundational doctrine of Christian belief - God's plan for the ages. Surprisingly, there are many who have never heard of God's plan for the ages nor His love towards all. Equally surprising, this doctrine has been presented to many leaving them with more questions than answers. For some, the teaching had been fragmented and "piece-part" leaving no explanation for many other verses which on the surface appeared to oppose the indisputable scriptural facts for the redemption of all mankind. Another problem, according to some, is that they see those (especially ministry) who embrace this truth yet lack the fruit of the spirit in their lives and homes, or live ungodly lifestyles acceptable to no Christian belief. To this we can only answer that scripture clearly states, "know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?" and "He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God." Besides, are other doctrines such as salvation, baptism, laying on of hands, faith toward God, resurrection of the dead, etc., invalid simply because there are those who may share in that same belief yet demonstrate weaknesses and sin harbored deep in their hearts? And then there are those who simply refuse to embrace the truth and would rather spend their time and energy arguing their position rather than seeking the Lord in prayer for understanding. Unknowingly these have become the enemies of the cross of Christ and its triumphant victory.
One key reason that God's people fail to see the greatness of the work of Christ and the all-inclusive faith which God has in the marvellous work of redemption is a failure to see that God is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will or as Paul wrote, "who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph 1:11). God is unrestricted and subject to none other. He has total authority and supreme rank over all His creation. He is self-governed without any limitation whatsoever. "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6). He is sovereign, make no mistake about it. Don't try to figure it out, stop trying to reason with it, simply accept it and watch His purpose unfold before your eyes.
Indeed, He loves us enough to curb, direct and control our lives. "I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons" (Ps. 16:17). And, "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in Himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer 10:23). Again, "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee" (Ps. 65:4), and "Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way" (Pro 20:24). Even Daniel knew of God's rule over the affairs of men with statements as "He removeth kings and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise and knowledge to them that know understanding"; and, "the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will". Proverbs also bears the same idea that "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, He turneth it whithersoever He will". (Pro 21:1).
And how about Job as he testified, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord"; " What, shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil"; "For He maketh sore and bindeth up, He woundeth and His hands make whole"; "For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me"; "....that He would loose His hand"; "For He breaketh me with a tempest and multiplieth my wounds without cause" and, "...over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon Him". To grasp that there is purpose, divine purpose in everything that touches our lives is a thought to cherish. As Job stated, God has appointed our bounds that we cannot pass. God has placed our bounds in order that we be exercised therein. He has placed His sovereign will over our own will for us to become willing and aligned to His will. It is as a "will within a Will". Even Joseph saw purpose in his terrible misfortune, tossed into a pit by his own brothers, left to die. He saw God in control of the events, saying to his brothers "So it was not you that sent me hither, but God".
Another reason many are unable to understand God's full plan for the ages is that they fail to grasp the grace of God. Scripture teaches us that it is by grace that we are saved and that it is not our doing. Grace is divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life. It is God that enabled us to experience salvation and it is by this very same grace that we shall be saved to the utmost, our full sonship in Him. He did not start salvation for us and then leave it up to us to complete it. He is both the author and finisher of our faith. It is God who is operating in us to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight. We are God's workmanship, not the work of another, namely our own. Hear the words of Paul, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Rom. 9:16).
Some may ask, but certainly God will not save a man against their will? First let me ask, wasn't your initial salvation experience against your own stubborn will, you who were dead in trespasses and sins? How can a person who is dead be willing, or even capable for that fact, to choose life without the divine influence of a merciful and loving God to help assist him, yea empower him to do so? Even Saint Augustine argued the fact that without God's continual help, man is weak and crippled. Augustine was an adversary to the opinion that God frequently awaits the good impulse of the natural will before coming to its assistance with supernatural grace to regenerate man and empower him. Didn't God know how to draw, even drag some who may be reading these lines and enable you to respond to that inner call? So, is salvation against a person's will? If it is not, I can at least say with assurance that all shall be willing once God is finished with them. Praise the Lord, we are becoming willing more and more each and every day. Not my will, but thine be done. Isaiah said, "if ye be willing", not if you are willing. There is a difference. The prophet of old was not offering an invitation, he was simply stating a fact. Those that ARE IN A STATE of willingness and obedience. Didn't Job say "thou shalt call, and I will answer thee", or Jeremiah say, "turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned". And what of all men, shall God save all? Hear the words of Paul, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 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.........Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time". (I Tim 2:1-6 KJV). Crystal clear - the Lord WILLS that all mankind be saved and come into the realization of the truth. This is not simply a flimsy "wish" as some would imagine for God needs not to wish as a child would "wish upon a star" or "make a birthday wish". Even Job testified, "But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth." (Job 23:13).
The original word 'will' that Paul used was thelo, which means: as being inclined, determined, choosing, preferring, desire, to be about to, to delight in or to be willing. To even think that if man wills, God Himself cannot withstand him, is a childish notion and should be discarded from our very thoughts. Such have a very small God and their thinking is aligned with humanism. Wouldn't you say that if God Almighty is inclined or determined, it would come to pass? I pray so. Wouldn't you agree that if God Omnipotent chooses or prefers, it will come into existence? I pray so. Wouldn't you think that if the God of absolute and unrestricted power has a desire towards anything, it would be fulfilled? I pray so. Tell me, if the God of unlimited authority, subject to none other, is to be about, or delights in, or is to be willing to perform a task, wouldn't you pray He is capable of fulfilling it? I think so! So if God is inclined to save all of humanity, if God delights in saving all of humanity, if God desires to save all of humanity, if God be willing to save all of humanity, will all of humanity be delivered? Will humanity be delivered from the bondage of corruption? Wouldn't you think the will of God is greater then the puny, little, stubborn will of man?
Indeed, God will have each and every soul that ever was, is or shall be, saved to the glory of His name. Some may ask, is there another verse in holy script to serve as a witness that all shall be delivered? Again, Paul provides us with the statement that "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order" (I Cor 15:22-23 KJV). In endeavoring to make the translation of the bible as nearly perfect in point of accuracy as possible, one translation proceeds with this same statement, "For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. Yet each in his own class". Moffatt gives us "as all die in Adam, so shall all be made alive in Christ. But each in his own division". Dr. Robert Young writes "for even as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all shall be made alive, and each in his proper order". Again, "for as by Adam all die, so by the anointed also, will all be restored to life. But each one in his own rank" (Diaglott). And yet others, "Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order"(Jerusalem bible), and "As members of a sinful race all men die; as members of Christ all men shall be raised to life, each in his proper order" (Phillips translation).
It should be evident that as a result of being in Adam, all have experienced that state of death, from cradle to grave, "For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead" (I Cor 15:21). I think I would be correct to suggest that not only has all mankind tasted this realm of death because of this one man, but also all of creation fell victim to the sting of death. Not man only, but ALL of God's universe. And as ALL have tasted of this realm of death, so shall this SAME ALL be made alive because of a man. Praise the Lord! And likewise, it will not stop with mankind, but the love of God will embrace ALL, including His whole creation. We reject the idea of those who would try to twist these scriptures to mean 'only those in Christ' to simply fit their opinion. The evidence of scripture is clear and the facts are before us, let God's wonderful truth shine through the ignorance which holds those blind in tradition and man's doctrine.
This leads us to the next statement which is so commonly said, 'if God is going to save everyone anyway, why bother yielding to Him now since I am going to be saved anyway'. It has been my experience when confronted with this question, that those asking are usually good, honest and sincere folk . For many, I have observed that they have never been taught or ever understood God's plan for various ages throughout time. Furthermore, much error and injury can occur when we seize every scripture proclaiming the reconciliation of all things and avoid all scripture which speaks of judgment and correction of the rebellious, although I think it could never compare to the hideous theory of eternal damnation and the absolute finality of an unending punishment and the affect it leaves on its' poor, misguided listeners.
Now let us take a look at the subject of time and eternity. The idea of eternity baffles our finite comprehension, and yet the mind of Christ knows all things. Time is not eternity, nor does eternity consist of time. Eternity is not made up of countless spans or divisions of time. Eternity does not begin neither does it have an end. It cannot be said that it is unending, for it never had a beginning. Some use phrases as 'spatial infinity' and 'timelessness' to refer to that realm of eternity. I suppose that it is difficult to find the correct English word for such a dimension. Even to attach the concept of realm or dimension to eternity is misleading for it suggests the idea of boundaries, of which eternity is not subject. That which is eternal is timeless, it is not subject to nor limited by time. It transcends the realm of time. Yet, He who is Eternal occupies and dwells in the realm of time, or as Isaiah stated, "lofty One that inhabiteth eternity" (Isa. 57:15). That is to say, He tabernacles throughout the future of time.
I do not know of a single word in the Bible that is equivalent to the word 'eternal'. In fact, the Bible is really a testimony of God's dealings concerning man through ages and times. Now that is not to say that God is not eternal nor is it to imply that the idea of eternity cannot be found in holy script. Words and phrases such as: incorruption, immortality, fadeth not away, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, endless life, no end, no more at all, and all in all, etc., assures us of the idea of perpetual or eternal. In fact, in comparing time to eternity; although I wonder if time (no punn intended) ought to be spent in contrasting the two since it seems to be almost, if not entirely, absent from the Bible; John stated, "... and there should be time no longer" (Rev 10:6). However, when time ends, eternity does not begin for it has always been; before any past, past, present, future and after any future - terms that relate to time.
Prior to 'time no longer', there is still the period of time, with the exception of "pre-time" or before times began. There have been many times, although there has been and is only one eternity. Times, dispensations and ages all have beginnings and endings. Ages belong to time, anything that has to do with an age or dispensation has to do with time. Paul wrote of God, "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; in him" (Eph 1:10). This clearly speaks of an age set aside for the work of reconciling all things in Christ. To the church of Corinth, Paul wrote of Jesus Christ, "then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (I Cor. 15: 24-28). It may come as a surprise to some, but this reads that the Lord's rule and reign is to continue only UNTIL he has put down all rule and authority. That is, he shall rule and reign until there is no occasion for ruling and reigning since all will be in perfect harmony with God. So, time ends or will be no more when Christ delivers up a perfect universe to God. Everything that belongs to that cursed realm of time shall have ceased. Day and night, pain, crying, tears, hell, death, etc., it shall all be reconciled to God.
Terms used in the Bible like eternal, everlasting, forever, ever, and never have been translated poorly. They denote definite divisions of time called ages or 'eons'. Put all together, they form a distinct portion of time called eonian times. Our challenge begins with 20th century usage of these words. Today these terms take on the meaning of unending, perpetual, surpassing all time and space. But this was not how they were used by the early Christians. In fact, it is quite interesting in readings of the early church fathers, that although there were difference of opinions regarding the fate of the unbeliever, most of them carried the expressions 'eternal' and 'everlasting' to mean a duration of time having a specific end. Origen, perhaps one of the greatest of all early church fathers, freely used such expressions without any further explanation as is needed today. In fact, he was clearly a teacher of ultimate salvation and found it to be one of his more favorite lessons. It is not recorded whether common orthodoxy of his day opposed or agreed with him on ultimate salvation, however, Origen did not have to defend his position with them. It is also said of him to believe that the doctrine is to be "regarded as a mystery and it should not be divulged everywhere upon the imperfect and those of less capacity", yet he often taught the subject.
Our English words 'eternal' and 'everlasting' are mostly found in the Greek as either aion or aionios. Since most of the early Christians used the Septuagint for their preaching and study, we will stay with the Greek word and its meaning rather than the Hebrew word. For those unfamiliar with the name, the Septuagint was the translation of the Hebrew holy scripture to Greek and served as the scriptures for vast numbers whose native tongue was Greek. For example, Jesus and his disciples would have used the Greek word aion rather than the original Hebrew word owlam , yet have the same meaning. Our first word aion means a term, interval or period of time, an age or an epoch. (An epoch is a particular period of time marked by distinctive features, events, etc.). The word 'eon' has been translated into English from aion. Scripture clearly taught that this word meant a period of time having a specific end to it. So let the usage of the word in the context of scripture determine the meaning of these words.
Jonah was in affliction and cried out of the fish's belly. Yet Jonah said that the earth with her bars was about me for ever or owlam. This word is the exact same as 'eon' and means a duration of time. The story proves this to be true since the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. We are told that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. So Jonah used the word owlam to mean a period of time having an end. The Septuagint uses the word aion, and our English translation uses 'for ever'; all three meaning the same thing! The same word has been translated in the old testament as: perpetual, everlasting, the world, elam, ancient, of old, and eternal. We find several references of the Aaronic priesthood as an 'everlasting' priesthood having an 'everlasting' covenant, yet the new testament tells us that it ended since a better covenant and more excellent ministry was established. God Himself said it was 'everlasting', yet ended it. Was He incorrect in using the word 'everlasting'? Perhaps He changed His mind or lied to us in the beginning? Of course not, rather the religious of today have led us astray in understanding the true meaning of these words. Let God be true and every man a liar. Even the leprosy of Gehazi, stated by Elisha as 'for ever', must end at his death.
"The eternal (qedem) God is thy refuge....." (Deut. 33:27). This word is also translated as east, eastward, before and anciently. It means antiquity and relates with time if one were to review the some sixty verses which use the word. For example, "the chief things of the ancient mountains" or "I have considered the days of old". The translators could have just as easily written "eternal mountains" or "days eternal". Yet, that would clearly be misleading since we know a mountain is not eternal nor is a day, which is clearly related to time. However, it is very true to say that "The God of the ages is thy refuge" since He acts within the limits and confinements of time with man. Paul writes "Now unto the King eternal (aion), immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (I Tim. 1:17). Dr. Robert Young translation gives "and to the King of the ages, the incorruptible, invisible, only wise God, is honour and glory - to the ages of the ages! Amen". Another reads "Now to the King of the eons, the incorruptible, invisible, only, and wise God, be honor and glory for the eons of the eons! Amen!". And yet again, "He is the King of the ages, the unseen one who never dies.......". So we can see that He is the King of all the ages of time and is to receive honor and glory in each one of them.
Those who hold to the theory of eternal punishment often point to the passage in the King James version where 'eternal' and 'everlasting' are the same Greek word when Jesus said, "and these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Matt. 25:46). They will quickly state 'now if everlasting punishment were to mean a duration or period of time, then how can we as believers have life eternal or without end since they are the same word?'. However, this is exactly what the word does mean. This word does not mean eternal or endless. Eons have beginnings and have endings, however long or vast they may be, common sense demands it and the scriptures prove it to be so. The parable is one which relates to time, it shouldn't be taken out of context to falsely prove a doctrine that is not within its original scope or meaning. Now I must admit, if I knew nothing else of this life in which I now possess with the exception of this parable, I might then agree that life must have an end somewhere in the far reaches of time. However, any good Bible student would challenge the idea since we already have found other verses which clearly show that this life is an endless life, never to cease, without end, eternal! It is a life which can not be corrupted and shall never see death nor an end. This life, which is endless, has been subjected into the time realm and will exist down through the ages or as some translators have accurately stated, ".....to the life age-during". Once the ages are complete, this life does not discontinue because it is endless, incorruptible, eternal! The word aion does not make it eternal, it simply implies that this life has been injected into time or is life age-abiding.
The scripture provides evidence of several ages. The Diaglott translation states, "... to all the generations of the age of the ages" (Eph. 3:21) and "... that he might exhibit in those ages which are approaching" (Eph 2:7). These clearly denote many or plural ages. So what age do we live in and is there a coming age? What would be the demarcation between this age and another? Let us turn to the scriptures in determining one age from another. We have already identified that there is one age which shall see the reconciliation of all things. In another place, we find that Jesus spoke of 'this age' and 'the age to come' when he spoke of those who would blaspheme the Holy Ghost, more commonly called the unpardonable sin. Two ages, one called this age and then one immediately after it. In another place, Jesus said that the children of 'this age' are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And, he spoke of the cares of 'this age'. He also gave the parable of the tares and said that the harvest is the 'end of the age' and that the tares would be burned up in 'the end of this age'. Again, he said that the children of 'this age' marry and are given in marriage but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain 'that age' and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die anymore for they are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
After the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find that Paul used phrases as: be not conformed to 'this age'; hath God not made foolish the wisdom of 'this age'; if any man among you seemeth to be wise in 'this age'; in whom the god of 'this age' hath blinded the minds of them that believe not; who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from 'this present evil age'; not only in 'this age' but also in 'the age to come'; wherein in time past ye walked according to 'the age of this world'; Demas having loved 'this present age'; we should live soberly and godly in 'this present age'. And again in scripture we find the author of Hebrews writing, of those that have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of 'the age to come'.
Let's briefly review some of the characteristics of the phrase 'this age'. Some shall not be forgiven for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; the world is wiser than the children of light in that age; the wise were made to look foolish; the god of that age blinded those that did not believe; an early Christian was found to love the present age; it was an evil age; it was a present age during the writings of Paul; and children of that age also married and were given in marriage. Regarding the parable of the tares, I do not see that the phrase 'this age' used in Matthew 13:40 has to refer to the same age as other phrases found as 'this age' in scripture. I believe that it refers to the age spoken of within the context of the parable, an age when the children of the wicked are burned in the fire and all that still offend in the kingdom are cast into a furnace of fire. Nor should we let the idea of fire mislead us. The Bible speaks of fiery trials which God describes as a lake burning with fire and brimstone which is the second death. Furthermore, fire can be divine as God is a consuming fire. A divine fire to judge, to cleanse, to purge and purify until every knee has bowed, every tongue confessed and every garment made white in the blood in the Lamb.
Then we have other verses describing the phrase 'the coming age'. Again, those who came against the Holy Ghost are still not forgiven in this age. However it does not say that they are not forgiven in the age to follow. Then there are those who are accounted worthy to obtain that age and the resurrection from among the dead. It is said of these that they are the children of God and the resurrection. They cannot die anymore, nor shall they marry or be given in marriage. It is also said that the powers of that age were tasted by some during the time of the writing of the epistle to the Hebrews.
So which age do we live in and if an age had changed from one to another, what was the evidence of the transition according to scripture? We can find our answer by turning our study to the book of Matthew, chapter 24. His disciples asked him what shall be the sign of thy presence and the end of the age. How would they be able to discern the end of the age? Prior to their question, remember that Jesus said that every stone of the Jewish temple would be overthrown. In answering their question, he said that they would hear of wars, but the end is not yet. Any good Bible teacher worth listening to would understand that Jesus was speaking of the coming destruction upon the city of Jerusalem 70 A.D. by Titus and his army. In fact, the first century writings of the historian Josephus describe that the Roman Empire had killed so many Jews, they were unable to lift their sword to slaughter another. In verse 9 Jesus was still speaking of his disciples. In verse 13, he said that those that endure to the end shall be saved. The end of what? The end of the age, the conclusion of an act. The same 'end' in the context of the answer.
In verse 14 we read, "and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Again, it is the end of the age, the same in which the disciples inquired. This verse is often taught much differently than how Jesus meant it. Many teach that this is still in the future. They reason that the entire world and all the nations haven't heard the good news. But Paul said, "... the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven". And may I remind you that the writings of Paul were before the destruction of Jerusalem. At that time, the world was around the Mediterranean Sea as most of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas were unknown. Jesus said, then shall the end come! The end of an age! I once thought that when Jesus said 'it is finished', he meant the end of an age, that age in which he lived, that age called by some as the 'age of law'. But I was mistaken. He meant that his work was finished. He came to do the will of the Father and he did everything required of him. (Nor do the words 'it is finished' mean that God was done with mankind and now would leave it all up to us to lay hold, believe, claim, etc., as some of our brethren in their carnal reasoning are teaching). Clearly, the crucifixion did not mark the end of an age. The remaining story describes the terrible slaughter, thus fulfilling the words of Jesus and marking the end of the dispensation, or at least outwardly the works of the law. All that it ever stood for with its rituals and temples was completely wiped out and now the age of God's grace would begin.
So an age has passed, that age in which the wise were made to look foolish by an unlearned fisherman. An age where the Greek showed his wisdom above the children of light, the scribe and Pharisee. A period in which Demas loved yet Paul warned against. An age in which Paul preached, yet being out of due season he tasted of the powers of the next age to come, that age of grace. A new age started after the fall of Jerusalem. A time when God's divine influence would be upon the hearts of men. An age in which the children of God have obtained and now desire to walk in its fulness, to come into possession of the resurrection from among the dead, to have part in the first resurrection on such the second death hath no power! To rule and reign with Christ as priests of God, not to marry or be given in marriage to another for they have become the bride of Christ. This marks the beginning of an age, the age of the kingdom.
God is gathering a people from across the globe to rule and reign in this next age to come, a time in which I know some are on its threshold. How shall we know when that time is come? Will there be another sign as Jesus gave his disciples? No, for an evil generation seeketh a sign. The only evidence given is that of resurrection power to overcome the last enemy which is death. To have power to lay your life down and raise it again. Be not deceived in thinking we are somewhere that we are not. Some have believed to enter that blessed age to come, leaving every trace of the previous age behind them, yet their life is in a frenzy. Revelation from upon High has been closed for sometime, their family is in a turmoil, no praise or melody in their hearts, prayer life that is non-existent and a lack of desire to search the word of God. Our pattern Jesus came to fulfill, not abolish the law. Likewise, only divine influence upon the heart can bring a person through the completion of this age of grace to obtain an endless life, thus thrusting them into the next age to rule and reign with Christ, as children of the resurrection. Then follow other ages, including the age of the ages, when the residue of men shall be drawn to the Lord. Then Christ will deliver up the kingdom to God that He may be all in all, that blessed rock of the ages that filleth all of eternity!
The Mystery Of Iniquity
I would like to set the stage and put into perspective exactly what is going on in the present world around us, and more importantly, what is going on in the kingdom of Christ.
Just a few years ago the world's eyes were on the Winter Olympics. Not to elaborate, but one particular individual caught the attention of the world. This young lady, though not fully aware of the importance she had played on the world's stage, also played a key role on the stage of the revelation of Christ in the earth realm. Along with myself, you were probably always under the impression, that an Olympian meant much more than simply being a world class skater, skier or some other participant in athletics. Well, that is not the case anymore. For CHARACTER, which once was the foundation of life, does not seem to take precedence anymore. The CHARACTER of every man is Christ. From the day of Pentecost, right up to the present, this was just the way it was, it was the STATUS QUO of every society. All down through the ages men from every walk of life tried to pattern their life after this one solitary life. Whether or not they achieved, that is not in question here. The focus was the high standard that you reached towards. And in that great quest, an attitude was produced, one which made the rest of achievements in whatever category made to be elevated into the pinnacle of the character of Christ.
The trials of competition in the world today are very, very hard. And to come through those trials, and eventually make it to the top, the key ingredient is one of CONFIDENCE. Without it you will not make it beyond any elementary try-outs. Confidence, what does it mean to be confident in any circumstance of life? It means to have a state-of-mind that is sure, stedfast, reliant on one's self assurance, and ability to fulfill the ultimate goal in one's life. My question at this point is, did the young lady in question, Ms. Tonya Harding, have confidence in herself to go to Norway and to return to the United States with a GOLD medal. The answer is evident, NO, and hundred times no! For if she did; starting with day one, there would have not been any attempt on Nancy Kerrigan whatsoever. For you see, in light of what has happened, Ms. Harding was the epitome and is the epitome of what the condition of society on whole is today.
While all of this was going on in the lime light of world media, there in a little country of Ukraine dwelled a small orphan girl by the name of Oksana Bioiul, who by and large received little or no publicity at all. For she needed no one to speak on her behalf. The reason, she had GOLD METAL CONFIDENCE. This young girl had no parents to speak to her on a daily basis, telling her the things that a young girl needs to hear to deal with life's obstacles and struggles. Yet, someone influenced her enough to cause her to become confident and believe that she would not only be able to compete, but also walk up to the highest platform to receive the prize that is above every prize, the gold metal. Well the results came in. Oksana won the gold, Nancy Kerrigan won the silver, and Tonya Harding did not even come close to winning a metal. She chose to seek another way, a short cut, a secret door that would lead to stardom, but there was no door to be found nor will there ever be. For there is just one way in which one can receive the prize of the high calling, and that is to enter at the door which is Christ. He said I AM THE DOOR, anyone who enters in through me will LIVE. There is only one way to attain unto the HIGH CALLING OF GOD. While the world of religion invents many ways to reach the mark, those that have heard His voice are being brought into the fold, and let there be no mistake about it, they have the CONFIDENCE OF THE SON. For this is the Confidence which we have received, by THE-FAITH-OF-HIM. Dear ones, this needs REPEATING. It is by THE-FAITH-OF-HIM IMPARTED IN US AND TO US, that brings forth our true IDENTITY IN HIM. Dear saints of God, it is THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY that has been working, and up to this time has been very successful through the operation of deception, after the working of Satan. It is exactly this that has kept the Body of Christ in delusion and has led them to believe the greatest lie since Genesis, chapter 3, Y-O-U S-H-A-L-L N-O-T S-U-R-E-L-Y D-I-E.
As the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, in that he suggested that there was an alternative access into eternal life, whether it be above, beneath, to the left, or to the right of the original path that must be taken to obtain the LIFE OF GOD. This was the WORKING OF INIQUITY. The ability to take the truth and then presenting the truth and suggesting that there is an alternate way to obtain it, this is the working of iniquity. The word 'iniquity' which is found in the II Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 7, when translated into the Greek is ANOMIA, pronounced an-om-ee-ah; does that sound familiar to the English word anonymous? Oh, let those that have an ear, let them hear. If there was ever a time in our society in which the standard of conduct and belief are weakening, it is now! This word 'iniquity' is and has the power to convey a message directly to the "EGO" or as the scripture describes it, "THE MAN OF SIN". Oh yes, let there be no mistake, for it is the Man of Sin who is in this hour like never before looking for every opportunity to prove that his righteousness is sufficient, and this is his entrance to sit in the throne of the kingdom. Yes; while Christ is making His descent and putting the finishing touches on the "MYSTERY OF GOD", the mystery of iniquity is working and will continue to work, until every hiding place where he has hid is flooded with the consuming LIGHT of the presence of Christ manifested in you.
What is going to separate those He has chosen from those who have the traditional concept of God is the LOVE OF TRUTH. They love their IMAGE, though in the past it did not appear evident what image it was exactly they were to love. For you see; the mystery of iniquity was still in operation in their lives, and they believed the lies that proceeded from the mouth of the man of sin. There is not a magician alive who is as cunning and as crafty as this man of sin. THINK OF IT, for two thousand years we've had a two fold operation; the man of sin in cooperation with the working of satan. You ask the question, who actually is satan? It should be very obvious once you've seen who Christ is. For that two thousand year period, where the great percentage of Christianity believed that Christ was living in some far off celestial city beyond the great Orion or Pleiades. Even if the written word was telling them that Christ was IN THEM, it could not be conceived for that Serpent, the most subtle of all the beast, had the preeminence. For since his appearance in Genesis, chapter 3, when he seduced the SOUL CONSCIOUSNESS OF MAN; THE WOMAN RECEIVED THE SEED OF the serpent. Before I say anything else, let me clarify what actually took place. The first Adam was a "LIVING SOUL", and this is exactly what the serpent confronted, it was the soul. The soul which is subject to "VANITY" not "WILLINGLY". Oh REJOICE YOU SAINTS OF GOD!!! The first Adam was created to be a slave in bondage to the Serpent and all of his cunningness. For if it was not so, then when the serpent approached the woman, that part of man which seeks another way rather than the way of God wouldn't have failed. Just as satan failed when he approached Jesus in the WILDERNESS OF THE FIRST ADAM. For the scriptures testifies; IS THIS THE MAN THAT MADE THE WORLD A WILDERNESS and opened not the house of prisoners. All down through the ages, man has been held prisoner in the prison cell of HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS. Rejoice again, I say Rejoice. For the hour is coming, and NOW IS, when the Lord has looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven does the Lord behold the earth. To hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose them that are appointed unto death, to swing open the door of bondage, to walk out into the glorious liberty of the SONS OF LIGHT. For all of the Adamic Creation are on tip toe earnestly awaiting the revealing of God's sons.
At this point in the great program, many are still waiting for a sign in the world, a sign to bring confidence of their identity in the manifestation of their sonship. LET IT BE KNOWN: THERE WILL BE NO SIGN GIVEN. ALL of the happenings in the world today are the result of this great manifestation. Yes, there is no question that the mystery of iniquity is working, and many are deceived, as I said earlier. The reason they're in deception is because the SOUL CONSCIOUSNESS is being occupied by the man of sin who is controlled by the workings of satan. You see, in the garden experience it was always accepted as gospel truth that satan and Lucifer were the same. Let the LIGHT OF THE DAY reveal who is who and to put into proper perspective this great plan and purpose of the Father.
Let us for a minute look at the four entities. Lucifer, Adam, Satan and Eve. Who are these different entities and what role do they play in the plan of God. First of all let us look at Lucifer. This Son of the Morning, this illuminary of celestial light. The question is one of initial creation when God said LET THERE BE LIGHT AND THERE WAS LIGHT. Since God is LIGHT and there is no darkness in HIM, this would be the first characteristic in this new creation man, LIGHT! Now with this understanding, let us look at this from the spiritual aspect. Through this Lucifer entity, the new creation man is able to ascend and descend from one realm to another. For you see, it was not until later in the sequential order of creation that God said; LET US MAKE MAN. So I ask you, WHEN God said; LET US MAKE MAN: WHO WAS HE SPEAKING TO? It is very evident who He was speaking to. The SPIRITUAL ENTITIES that He created long before any physical man ever walked planet earth. It was later in creation that we see the creation of the man who was made subject to vanity. Some may at this time ask where was Jesus at this point? He was right there, for HE IS THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD. Jesus, the man that we know as the son , born in the little town of Bethlehem of a virgin named Mary. Allow your Spirit to release the information that was with the Father long before the creation of this world that we know. For it is in this realm of Spirit that the Father created His son, and not only the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, BUT THE OFFSPRING of Christ.
I must take a few lines to say, we have always looked at the book of Genesis as a historical book of happenings, but allow me to direct you to the first verse of the chapter, IN THE BEGINNING. My friends, at this time you must now close the book and take one step backward, to the other side of the beginning, to THE STATE OF ETERNITY. For this is the infinite place of FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FATHER. This is the place where Jesus came from. Let it be known that in this place of ETERNITY the name of Jesus was foreordained. This is what He was to be called when He was born of a woman, when the FULNESS OF TIME WAS COME. But I would like you to direct your Spiritual thinking to the STATE OF HIS BEING and His fellowship with the Father, long before the foundations of the earth were laid. Many are probably saying, brother, I never read that in the Book of Genesis. Of course you haven't. It was not written in the Book of Genesis, it was written in the BOOK OF LIFE. The Book Of Genesis was written by man as the Spirit moved them. Christ did many things in the presence of his disciples that are not written in the Bible. And so it was the same in the realm of Eternal Spirit, when all things were in one accord with the WILL OF THE FATHER. There was a fellowship going on in the ETERNAL COUNCIL ROOM OF GOD, between the Father, the Son and this vast family of sons, that could not be written in any book! Now allow me to tell you of some of that conversation that was and is going on up to this present time. One must take into serious consideration, that when this conversation was going on, the expanse of all creation was contained into the plan and purpose, that all THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM AND WITHOUT HIM WAS NOT ANYTHING MADE. IN HIM WAS LIFE; AND THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT OF MEN, AND THE LIGHT SHINES IN DARKNESS; AND THE DARKNESS COMPREHENDED IT NOT. Let us understand that long before the sun, moon, stars, and all of the infinite creation were spoken into existence, the Father spoke to the Son and to the sons; LET US CREATE MAN IN OUR IMAGE AND IN OUR LIKENESS. So, NOW that the fulness of time is come and God the Father is making His entrance into the earth realm, this is the concept of the LUCIFER BEING, Lucifer being the light characteristic of God. This became the point of contact into the earth realm. When the Father was in fellowship with Adam, it was through the Lucifer being, the spiritual conduit in which God ascended and descended. So, it should be clear that the first Adam was a living SOUL and it was FROM THE SOUL CONSCIOUSNESS (EVE) that Adam was in communication with God. He depended and trusted in his own character rather than the identity of the Spirit, his God consciousness.
When the Tempter approached Jesus in the wilderness, if Jesus had been operating from the soul realm, or let me say it this way, an EMOTIONAL STATE, Satan would have been successful in the downfall of the Son. For what was the Tempter looking for? Was it not the same thing he was looking for in the first Adam, a SOUL (WOMAN). It is very evident that the woman that was in the first Adam, was the target of the Serpent. Oh, do not be confused by name titles. Serpent, Tempter, the Devil, they are one and the same. They are the force, the power that has been created by the Father to seek out and expose the MAN OF SIN. For what is it that the soul represents? Man in a lowered state trying to prove, not to God, but to himself that he in his separated condition is God. But in the life of the Son of God, and being totally secure in His true identity, His ONENESS IN THE FATHER, there is no difference in identity, it is one and the same; IF YOU HAVE SEEN ME YOU HAVE SEEN THE FATHER. But with the first Adam it was not that way. For he was not then nor is he now secure in his own identity. From that great and notable day when the eyes of them BOTH were opened and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons, here lies the destiny of all mankind. In their nakedness they were secure with their identity, for it was the image of God. Yet after the transgression, they looked at their identity and were ashamed. In so much, they were looking for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For it was of this tree that they partook, yet when their shame turned into fear, the tree that they thought would bring them security failed them. It was no more to be found. You see, it was this tree that they were to hide behind, for this tree was their own righteousness. And as they got closer to the presence of God, that tree was no longer just one tree, but now it becomes many trees, many identities in which man chooses to live in. Because he has never been comfortable with his identity, even to this present time.
So what is the great epilogue; woman is going back into man, and man is entering back into God. For it can only be there that man will find his true identity. That is why all of creation is longing for this day. For since man sought out his own righteousness in an identity that was alienated from the true identity in God, Spirit, Lucifer, Light Bringer, Day Star.... these are all descriptive names which spell the one same LORD JESUS CHRIST. Creation has been waiting for the revealing of God's sons who will bring all things into one, even in Him, who is the firstborn of every creature. When I speak of Him, it also relates to His sons who are the image of the invisible God. As your soul is resting and your Spirit is arising from it's long sleep, Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
From Creation to the Consummation - Part VII
This article could be titled, "Israel in training" because now God began to train His people to trust Him as they started on this long journey. As soon as the march was well under way, God joined the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day that changed into a pillar of fire by night. God took over the control of His people's journey, When the cloud stopped, the people stopped. When the cloud moved, the people would break camp and begin to march again. In this extraordinary manner God assured them of His presence and protection. And so, now began a training of people who were not always willing to be trained.
The main events of this article are the murmuring for water, the giving of manna, the Law, and the description of the tabernacle given at Mount Sinai, the muting and the worship of the golden calf, the majority report of the spies received, the wandering of Israelites for 38 years, and Moses' farewell and death. The main people are Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb, Miriam, Korah and Balaam.
God took them on a route which was south along the west coast of the Red Sea. There was a purpose for this route. If God had led them to the north, where they had land all the way, they would have been attacked by the Philistines and would have fled back to Egypt. The other reason was the Egyptians. Since Pharaoh changed his mind and went after the Hebrews, the Lord led them across the Red Sea by the miracle of drying up the water. And as the Egyptians tried to do the same as the Hebrews, God let the water roll back and destroyed the army of the Egyptians. Thus, the Egyptians would cause them no more trouble. After traveling three day in the wilderness, the people cannot find water. They begin to murmur. When they come to Marah, the waters are bitter. God shows Moses a tree and instructs him to cast it into the waters and the bitter water becomes sweet. This was a type and shadow of the Cross of Christ; into the bitter waters of life comes the Cross to make life sweet with Jesus. Soon the people ran out of food. And, since the wilderness is no place for food and water, the people acted irresponsibly, complaining about their hardship. Moses had to hear more complaints and murmuring than any other person on the face of the earth. But God, in His faithfulness, provided food by sending manna. It covered the ground in the morning as hoar-frost and it was the main food of the Hebrews. This manna is likened as the food of Angels in the 78th Psalm and in verse 24-25, "and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angel's food".
This provision of God was sacred to the Jews as they referred to it in the Gospel of John, chapter 6 and verse 31. Here the Jews, in discussion with Jesus, say that their fathers ate manna in the desert. Jesus lets that natural manna be God's sign of the spiritual manna, which is His Son, Jesus. Manna was kept in a pot in the Ark of the Covenant, showing its importance and in Revelation, God speaks of giving the hidden manna to the overcomers. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone." (Rev. 2:17b). God kept giving to His people for 40 years. The manna came every day, except on the Sabbath. The day before the Sabbath, there was a double portion. A Bible teacher and lecturer in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area once stated that a scientist had computed the number of the Hebrews at being over 3,000,000, and with the necessary food for this large population with normal appetites, God would have to send about 40 box cars full of food daily. And not only the food, but whenever the need arose, God furnished His people with water. The Bible says that their clothing and shoes did not wear out during their journey to the Promise Land. The provision and the goodness of God was with them continually. And with their guidance with the pillar of fire and smoke, the Israelites could put aside all worry and obediently follow their Jehovah-Jireth.
Mount Sinai was the first goal of their journey. In the valleys between the mountains were enough pastures and water for a long stay. After about three months' journey, Israel made camp at the foot of Mount Sinai. The Hebrews had traveled about 150 miles from the Red Sea. So far, they had seen the goodness of God in protecting them from the enemies who had attacked them. The worst were the Amalekites, descendants of Esau, who harassed the rear of the Israelites after they had left Egypt. And, at Rephidim, as Moses approaches Mount Sinai on the west side, that the Amalekites engage him in battle and are defeated by the Hebrews with Joshua in command. This is the first time that Joshua is mentioned in the account of the journey in the wilderness and he becomes a personal attendant of Moses. While the Israelites were at Sinai, God spoke to them through Moses. He said that you people have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you unto Myself. Now, therefore, if you will obey My Voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These words are recorded in Exodus 19:5-6. Moses instructed the people to clean up and put on their best clothes, and be ready to listen to God. On the third day after being instructed, the people saw a heavy cloud cover the top of the mountain. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled. God descended then upon Mount Sinai. Out of the cloud, God's Voice spoke the Ten Commandments to these awe-stricken people. These commandments had to do with their relationship with Him, their God, and with their fellow men. These commandments are the basis of our legal systems even today. God gave them specific commands that they were not to make gods out of silver or gold. Their altars were to be of the earth or of rough rocks. They were not to put any tools to produce hewn rocks for an altar, as this would pollute it. Nor were they to have any steps to their altars, as this would reveal their nakedness. All these commandments are given in the 20th chapter of Exodus.
In days gone by, God had made covenants with individuals such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now God would make a covenant with a whole nation. It was not a new covenant, but and old covenant in a new form. God pledged Himself to bring Israel into the land He gave to Abraham. If the people would obey His words, He would destroy their enemies and use Israel to bring salvation to all nations. With one voice, the people pledged themselves to serve Jehovah and do all He commanded. The covenant was written in a book called the book of the covenant. Oxen were sacrificed and Moses took the blood of the covenant and sprinkled half of it on the altar and half on the people while he said, "behold the blood of the covenant." -Exodus 24:8.
God gives His people the written Law. Because God did not leave His words to the memory of the people, God calls Moses to come up and be with Him in the mountain. Moses stays there for 40 days. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, written on two tablets of stone. Then God gave Moses a detailed plan of the tent that was to be their center of worship. The tent was called the tabernacle. Moses received also detailed instructions about the different parts of the services. God gives His teachings about the annual feasts and the ordination and regulations of the priesthood. As regards to the tabernacle, it is to stand in a court of 150 x 75 feet, surrounded by a fence of canvas screens, about 8 feet high. This court, or yard, will have only one entrance, 30 feet wide, on the east end, closed by a curtain of fine linen, embroilered with figures of cherubim. The Tabernacle is to measure 45 x 15 x 15 feet. It will stand in the west half of the court, with only the east end entrance. Inside will be the brazen altar for burnt offerings and near-by will be the brazen laver, which will contain water for the priests to wash their hands and feet. The Tabernacle is to be divided into the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. In the Most Holy Place will stand the Ark of the Covenant. This Ark is to contain the two tablets of the Law, rod of Aaron, and the pot of manna. The Ark will be overlaid with gold within and without. Golden rings will be used to carry it. The poles, which will be used, will be made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. On the top of the Ark will be the Mercy Seat where the High Priest will sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed animal to make the atonement for the people. Facing the Mercy Seat will be two Angelic beings on opposite sides, looking at the Mercy Seat.
The people become impatient when Moses doesn't come down. They have Aaron make an idol to go before them. Aaron takes their earrings and makes a golden calf. The people bring offerings to it, feast, drink and play before it. God told Moses to go down because the people had corrupted themselves. God said that the people have turned aside quickly out of the way which He, the Lord, had commanded them. God threatens to consume the people, but Moses intercedes for them. The Lord shows His mercy by changing His Plan of destroying then when Moses stood up to pray for mercy for the Hebrews. As Moses comes down from the mountain, he becomes angry. He casts the tables of stone and breaks them. Moses burns the golden calf and grinds it into powder. He spreads the powder upon the water and makes the Israelites drink of it. Moses asks the question, "who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me. " - Exodus 32:26. And all the sons of Levi gather themselves unto him. Moses told them to take their swords and to slay every man, his brother, companion, and neighbor. And there were about 3,000 men who died that day. God speaks to Moses again and tells him to take two tables of stone and to go to the Mount Sinai again. God says that He will write on these two tables of stone again. The Lord descends in a cloud and passes by him and proclaims, "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." - Exodus 34:6,7. Moses bowed his head and worshipped the Lord. Moses said to God, "O Lord, pardon our iniquity and our son and take us for Thine inheritance." _ Exodus 43:8,9. Moses has an experience on that mount when he says to God, "show me Thy Glory." God hides Moses in a cliff of a rock and all Moses sees is the back of God, because God tells him that no one can see His Face and live. Moses is assured at this time that he has found grace in God's sight and that God knows him by name. Moses was with the Lord for 40 days and nights, and did not eat food or drink water. And when Moses came down, his face shone and he did not know it. But Aaron and the people were afraid to come near him, and Moses calls them to come near him and, as he speaks with them, he puts a veil on his face. But when Moses goes before the Lord, he takes the veil off. Jacob Tanner, in his book on Bible history, states that these are the foundations which the Lord gave Israel, mentioned in Tanner's book. There are the main directions:
1). God's Word. God made this important when He gave them the Ten Commandments. Without His Word, man would be without a compass, a guide, a direction. Now they knew the Will of God as they lived to Him and to each other.
2). Sacrifices. The sacrifices were important; there were two groups, the sin-offerings and the thank-offerings. God wanted to teach them that the sin-offerings and the thank-offerings. God wanted to teach them that the sin-offering would be the answer for their sin, and would take away the guilt. The sinner would bring a lamb or another animal to the priest. The animals cost money and had to give its life. This would impress upon the Hebrews that sin is costly and evil. It should make them grieve over their sin. By laying hand upon the head of the animal, the sinner transferred his sin to the animal. By giving of its life and shedding its blood, the animal paid for the sin and secured God's forgiveness. The sacrificial blood had this effect because God had said that He, in this way, would forgive their sin. The sin-offering was a type of Christ and pointed toward Him. It was a part of the preparation for the coming of Christ.
The thank-offering consisted of grain, fruit and other products and, at times. also of animals. by bringing a gift of some value, they were led to think more seriously about God's many blessings. The Hebrews were not to come empty handed to the sanctuary to thank God. This offering was a training in gratitude.
3). Day for the Holy Convocation. The people needed to come together for divine services. The 7th day of the week was the Sabbath, a time for rest and holy assembly. In addition, God gave them special festivals. The Spring festival was the Passover. This convocation reminded them of God's protection by giving them the blood and protection from the death Angel. Passover reminded them also of their escape from Egypt. Pentecost came 50 days after the Passover. It is called the feast of the weeks. It was a festival in memory of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and a thanksgiving for the crop that year. In the Fall they had the feast of the tabernacles in memory of the journey through the wilderness. The day of atonement came 5 days before the feast of the tabernacles and was a day of national repentance.
4). Priests and Teachers. In the Mosaic covenant, the priests were the middlemen between the people and God. They alone could go inside of that part of the sanctuary, called the Holy, and only the chief of the priests could enter the Holy of Holies. He was called the high priest. The priests brought the sacrifices to God within the sanctuary of behalf of the people. They brought back the Aaronic blessing from God as an assurance that God had accepted the sacrifice. This blessing as given in the Bible, goes as follows:
The Lord bless thee and keep thee
The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24)
In Canaan, the priests lived in 48 cities scattered throughout the country. The Levites were of the tribe of Levi and were the helpers of the priests. The priests and Levites were the teachers of the people.
5). The House of Worship. When Moses asked for contributions from among the people for the work of the tabernacle, the response was overwhelming. More came in than was needed, so Moses cut off further giving to the work and ministry of the creation of the tabernacle. As mentioned earlier, the tabernacle was surrounded by a court made of fine lined, 7 1/3 feet high on pillars of brass, which were 7 1/2 feet apart. This linen was held on the pillars with fillets and hooks of silver set in sockets of brass. The Gate, in the east end, was 30 feet wide of linen in blue and scarlet. As mentioned earlier, the courtyard was 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. The altar and laver were in the outer court. The burnt offering was placed on the altar and the laver was for the priests to wash their hands and feet. The Holy Place contained the altar of incense, the table of shewbread and the candlestick. The three items were made of gold; with the altar of incense and shewbread; acacia wood was used and the gold overlaid them. The candlestick was pure gold made of a central shaft with 3 branches on each side. On the table of shewbread were 12 loaves kept there perpetually and replaced every Sabbath; this signified gratitude to God for daily bread. Luke 11:3. The altar of incense had incense burned continually to signify continual prayer. - Revelation 8:3-5. The candlestick signifies God's light and represents the Church, which is to reflect the light of God. - Revelation 1:12,20. Behind the altar of incense is a veil. This separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of Holies was just one piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant. There were no windows or candlesticks and the only light came from the shekinah glory of the Lord. The tabernacle is a type and shadow or our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The outer court represents our salvation as we receive His finished work of our salvation, the laver represents our baptism. The Holy Place represents our blessing, which we receive as we commune with Him, pray to Him and are enlightened by Him. The Holy of Holies represents out total commitment to Him. As the Ark contained the Law, His Law is written in our hearts, His ministry is given us as represented by the rod of Aaron and His spiritual nourishment is ours continually as we feed on the true manna from Heaven. As the service of the burnt offering is voluntary, so the other services were mandatory for the participant. and so it is with Christ, He is our "burnt offering", for our salvation. The other offerings such as trespass, sin, peace and meal offerings all relate to the fulfillment of man's entire needs and are to be carried out. In other words, one cannot accept Christ as the Saviour without making Him Lord. To desire and want Christ without a commitment to Him is a sham. To want to avoid the process of sanctification after one is saved, is a travesty on the entire work of the Lord Jesus Christ. To sum it up in relation to Christ, we can state that the outer court can refer to our Lord as Saviour, the Holy Place as our Baptism, and the Holy of Holies as our Sanctifier.
6). The People Living in the Home. The purpose of the covenant was to make the people righteous. Only through a righteous people could a righteous God reveal Himself and only through such a people could He send the Saviour of sinners. God gave the Ten Commandments and thus the answer. The answer was to keep His laws and commandments. Righteousness was manifested by one's love for God and his neighbors. With a number of by-laws, God applied this to the details of every life. A righteous people had to have a heart for the poor. No interest should be charge to them. They had a right to eat anywhere of the crop that came up in the year that the land rested. The land would not be misused by a righteous people. The land was the Lord's and every seventh year, the land was to be uncultivated. This would keep the land from losing its fertility. The righteous people would not sell their homestead. They were to keep it in their family. A righteous people would educate their children This education was to make their children to fear and love the Lord. It was an education in right living, and to know the Word of God. A righteous people would be honest in weights and measures. They were not to use the measures of the Gentiles. There was not to be a small measure in selling and a large measure in buying. A righteous people would take care of their health. The body was to be kept clean by regular washing and only healthful food should be eaten. A righteous people would keep themselves separated from the heathens. They would not intermarry and be drawn into immoral idol worship and evil practices.
The nation of Israel camps at mount Sinai about one year. After observing the Passover, they break camp and, led by the pillar of the cloud, they start for Canaan. Upon reaching Kadesh-barnea, which is about 70 miles south of Hebron; Israel's spies are sent to reconnoiter the land of Canaan. The spies number 12, one from each tribe. They find that the land is good, but only two, Caleb and Joshua, were willing to press on and occupy the land. The other ten were frightened at the walled cities and the gigantic stature of the inhabitants. The "evil report" of the ten was accepted and Israel spent a generation in the wilderness, unwilling and unable to occupy the Promised Land. Later on, Joshua and Caleb were the only two out of 600,000 men over 20 years who lived to enter Canaan.
To add to the troubles of Moses, Korah sought to usurp his leadership. Moses went straight to God as he did in every crisis, and God settled the matter. The earth opened and the rebels went down. At this time, God allowed the rod of Aaron to bud to show that God had chosen Aaron. And so the people realized that the anointed leaders of God were not to be challenged or to usurp their authority.
As the children of Israel came into the Desert of Zin, there they abode at Kadesh. Miriam dies here and is buried. There was no water for them and God tells Moses to speak to the rock and that it would give forth water. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses hit it two times and the water flowed. Because Moses disobeyed the Lord, God told him that he would not lead the Hebrews into the land of promise. One reason why this sin was so grievous is because a respected Bible teacher once stated that the rock was a shadow of Christ and, instead of speaking to it, Moses hit it twice, symbolizing crucifying Christ twice. This is why re-inacting calvary in a mass is error. We do not re-inact the Great Sacrifice of Christ. Aaron, too, would not enter into the land and soon Aaron died and was buried on the top of Mount Hor. Because of their murmuring, God soon sent serpents into the camp and afflicted the people. Many died. God told Moses to make a brass serpent and to put it high on a pole and the people were told that if they looked at that serpent, they would be healed. They would be saved with a look.
Another event came at the end of the 40 years. Israel had come north on the east side of the Dead Sea. They had defeated the Amorites and made camp on the east side of the river, Jordan. The king of Moab was terrified at the coming of Israel and sent for a soothsayer named Balaam. The king offered Balaam money if he would curse the Israelites, for then they could be defeated. The pagan belief was that the soothsayer, with magic, could compel the gods to do what he demanded of them. Balaam came, but God took him in hand and compelled him to bless Israel. In his blessing, Balaam spoke of Christ as a star. His prophecy spoke of Christ as coming as a star out of Jacob, and as a scepter rising out of Israel. This prophecy continued to live among the astronomers of the East until the day the wise men who watched the stars saw the mighty star and were led by it until they came to the Christ-child. And so the Israelites were kept from a curse and were blessed instead. However, some of the Israelites committed whoredom with daughters of Moab and worshipped Baal. Because of this, 24,000 of them died.
Moses appointed Joshua to be the new leader. He knew that he could not go into the promise land. Knowing that time would be short, Moses wrote the laws of god in a book and commanded that the book be read to the people every seven years. He urged the people to be faithful to God, spoke of God's goodness to them and gave them a benediction. Then one day has he traveled the Abarim range of Pisgah, this lonely old man walked to the summit of Nebo. He was on his way to meet God and to be with Him forever. He takes one more last, lingering look at the camp of the people he had loved so dearly. At the top, God meets him and shows him a grand view of the Promised Land. At the age of 120, his eye is not dimmed nor his natural force abated; God takes him and the Lord buries him. No one knows of his grave lest they should be tempted to commit idol worship at the grave of their great leader.
Moses is to be admired by those who study his life. He led a very rebellious, murmuring and complaining people. They complained in Egypt. They complained at the Red Sea, then at Marah, in the wilderness of sin, at Rephidim, at Taberah, Hazeroth, Meribah, and at Kadesh-barnea. When the people loathed manna, God gave them quail, which made them ill. God gave them the brass serpent after they were afflicted with the snake bites; God would seek to satisfy this rebellious and stubborn people, giving them what they desired, but there was leanness to their souls. Moses had trouble with his family. With Aaron, he had trouble when Aaron gave into the people and made a golden calf. Miriam and Aaron murmured against Moses because of his dark-skinned wife. God afflicts Miriam with leprosy and Moses prays for her. She is healed. And the final blow to anyone in the place of Moses would be when the people refuse to enter into the Promise Land and want to stone him; their refusal being so strong. And in the end, even this faithful servant of God is not allowed to go into the promised first to Abraham.
The first books of the Bible, called the five books of Moses have a geographical relation of the journey of Israel to the Promise Land. Genesis tells of the beginnings of the Nation of Israel; Exodus tells of the going out of the land of Egypt; Leviticus tells of the directives of God given at Mount Sinai; Numbers tells of the events in the wilderness; and Deuteronomy tells of the entrance into the land of promise and the battles against the hords of tribes who would try and block the entrance of the Hebrews into the land which God gave to them. And now that they are at the threshold of going into the new land with a new leader, we shall look at the events which follow in the next article.
To be continued.................Dr. Jack E. Jacobsen
SPECIAL NOTE: Brother Jack Jacobsen has written a new booklet on THE HOPE OF THE WORLD. This wonderful book deals with:
• The Hope of Judah, If anyone is interested in obtaining a
• The Hope of the Early Fathers,
• The Hope of the Church,
• The Hope of the Lords' Corporate Body,
• The Hope for the Unseen,
• Modern Mans' Hope,
• The Hope of the Ages,
• The Hope For Judas.