"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 twentieth issue of "ARISE" features:
I. "So Send I You" is provided by Brother Terry Crisp and is a reprint
by permission. He and his
wife live in Dawson, GA. They also minister and publish monthly studies on kindgom truth.
II. "Progressing In God" is provided by the author of the ARISE publication.
He resides in
Valrico (Tampa), FL with his wife Melissa and baby girl Nicole Anna.
III. "Good Neighbor Sam" comes from friend and minister, Brother
Romeo Corsini. He and his wife
Christine live in Brandon (Tampa), FL. They have three little girls.
IV. "The Totality Of Redemption" comes to us from Brother Victor
Allen of Sooke, B.C in Canada.
We have enjoyed Victor's insight over these past few years, he is a blessing to many.
V. "Joseph's Coat Of Many Colors" is made available from our close friend, Brother Jack Jacobsen. He and his wife Marjorie has taken residence in New Port Richey (Tampa), FL area.
VI. "From Creation To The Consummation" is made available byBrother Jack Jacobsen. This is the eighth of sixteen chapters collected from his dissertation for a doctorate of philosophy degree.
VII. "When All I Am" is a wonderful poem reflecting truth for this
hour. It comes to us from Frances
Shufflebarger of West Chester, PA.
VIII. "Son, Pick Up Your Bed" is provided by author of ARISE journal.
It actually is a song and could be
played with the three simple chords on the guitar of E7, A7 and B7. This poem was penned after
I heard Dane Tabor minister on ‘picking up thy bed’ in Orlando, FL at Willie Hinn’s church.
This marks our fifth completed year of sharing present truth regarding the kingdom of God through the ARISE journal. We trust it has been as much of a blessing to those reading it as it has been for us to provide these writings. I would like to personally thank Romeo Corsini for his assistance in preparing the journal and especially thank my wife Melissa for sacrificing many weekend days as she both helped with the journal and gave me over to many long hours at the computer. During our preparation of this printing, we had received the sad news of the death of our friend Pastor Dane Tabor. We ask that you remember his wife Rita, family and those at United Christian Temple in Uniontown, PA in prayer.
Our beautiful little girl Nicole Anna is now nineteen months old and continues to bring joy to our hearts every day. We also have the exciting news that she will be having new playmate, other than Daddy, as Melissa is expected to deliver in mid-July. We praise the Lord for His mercy and goodness.
In His Service
Timothy D. and Melissa Carroll
"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.
So Send I You
John 20:21... "Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you: AS MY FATHER HATH SENT ME, SO SEND I YOU. And when He had said this, He breathed upon them, and said, RECEIVE YE THE HOLY GHOST: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." What an awesome experience this must have been! If you are familiar with the narrative, you recall that at this point in the story Jesus had already been crucified, buried, and resurrected. Now as He appeared to His disciples, seemingly out of nowhere, He speaks these astonishing words... "AS MY FATHER HATH SENT ME...", that is, in the very same manner, with the very same mission, to accomplish the very same purpose, "....SO SEND I YOU"! I would imagine that the disciples were so overwhelmed by the terror of the situation that these words probably went over their heads, at the time! But once they received the Spirit, He brought all things back to their remembrance, and quickened their understanding concerning this tremendous declaration. "As My Father hath sent me". Recently the Lord stirred my heart to ponder these words. How was it that Jesus was sent? What was it that compelled Him so? This question is of vital importance to us, seeing that our commission is so intimately linked to His! As He was sent, we are sent; and what motivated Him is to be our motivation! He is the divine pattern for us to follow; giving us a millennial vision of God's eternal plan and purpose in us for the world!
Probably the most familiar and well-loved of all Scriptures is John 3:16-17. Though it has been memorized by countless millions of believers over the years, I feel confident when I say that at best, only a small percentage have realized it's application to OUR OWN calling and election. "For GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. FOR GOD SENT NOT HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN; BUT THAT THE WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED". What comfort we all have found in these words! "For God SO LOVED the world, that He GAVE..." The measureless bounds of that Divine Love was shown by the fact that He WILLINGLY GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR MANY! He, whose Life was infinitely of far greater value than could ever be assessed, whose Life was never tainted with the corrupting defilement's of sin, loved this sin-sick world of fallen humanity so much that He gave HEAVEN'S BEST.... and laid down the life of His sonship, in order that others might be brought to God! What a selfless act of charity and compassion manifested toward mankind! He who had it all: yea, and WAS ALL, willingly GAVE IT ALL, that He might redeem others back to God! Glory to His Name!
Paul's words were eloquent concerning this: "LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU, WHICH WAS ALSO IN CHRIST JESUS: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made of Himself no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore GOD HATH HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and GIVEN HIM A NAME which is above every name..." (Phil. 2:5-9)! Just think of that! He, who was essentially ONE WITH GOD, left the "high and lofty place", the glory of the Father, that He might "condescend to men of low estate"! He HUMBLED HIMSELF, taking upon Himself the likeness of "sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), that He might be able to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities! He did not descend from the heavenlies to prove Himself superior to those around Him; He did not seek only to associate with those who had attained or risen to His level of spirituality (that would have been a great disappointment); nor was He interested in building Himself a reputation by putting others down. He was not sent into the world to CONDEMN the world, but that the world THROUGH HIM might be saved! He IDENTIFIED with the groaning of the prisoners, being "numbered with the transgressors", that He might lead "captivity captive, and GIVE GIFTS unto men" (Eph 4:8)! Praise God! He, who was Lord and Master over all, willingly became Servant to all, lowering Himself to the unpretentious position of "foot-washer", that He in due season might raise them up in the newness of life! By this, the true heart of Sonship is revealed.... NOT as the obtaining and retaining of eternal Life, of spiritual blessings and gifts, of acquiring God's promises, or procuring a higher-position in the heavenly calling, merely for the enjoyment and satisfaction of ourselves; NOR is it to create a sense of superiority or exclusiveness... an "elitist" mentality that looks down on others of less stature. But it is the obtaining of Life, to be poured out for the life of others; the possessing of Life that we might GIVE LIFE! It is the receiving of Spirit, that we might impart SUCH AS WE HAVE to a groaning creation! It is THE LIFE OF GIVING, of SACRIFICE, of servitude; a realm where possessiveness has no part! It is a LOVE CONSCIOUSNESS that is ever mindful of the needs of OTHERS, putting them before ourselves.... a LOVE LIFE, void of condemnation, that is constantly compelling us to CONDESCEND TO MEN OF LOW ESTATE!
I Cor. 15:45, 47, 49... "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made A LIVING SOUL; the last man Adam was made A QUICKENING SPIRIT.... The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.... And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly". There is a contrast made here between the first man, the man of the EARTH, and the last Man, the man of SPIRIT. By comparison, we understand that when the NATURAL MAN was originally created, he was made "a little lower than angels"... wholly in need of the impartation of Life. While he lay formed in the dust he had nothing to offer, nothing to give; he could only RECEIVE. Just as the natural earth has no power of itself to produce life or productivity except a seed be planted in it; even so, the first man was dead and lifeless, until the Lord God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Spirit), and raised him to his feet (Gen. 2:7). Not only did Adam receive NATURAL LIFE at this time, but was given access to SPIRITUAL LIFE, as well! Adam had the opportunity to be raised up into a higher life form by simply partaking of that which was freely provided by the Lord! As you know, he lost that opportunity, choosing rather to partake of that which was forbidden, and thereby rejecting the Gift of God. After the fall, Adam reverted back to his former estate, immediately losing access to "the Tree of Life" (his Spiritual Life, Christ), and eventually losing his natural life as well.... returning to the dust from whence he came (Eccl. 3:20). This was the condition the literal billions of his offspring have been conceived into since then, being "made subject to vanities, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same IN HOPE...." (Rom. 8:20). What exactly is the HOPE that the "creature" has been subjected to? Verse 21 continues, "....Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God"! So that's it! There is planted deep within the heart of the creature A HOPE OF DELIVERANCE, that "even as we have borne the IMAGE of the EARTHY, we shall also bear the IMAGE of the HEAVENLY"!
What does He mean by "the IMAGE of the HEAVENLY"? It is the likeness of a "QUICKENING (Life-giving) SPIRIT! Christ, the "last man Adam", not only RECEIVED Life, but was able to GIVE Life, as well! "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4)! Unlike the first man, who is ever in need of deliverance, Jesus imparted deliverance! Hear His own Words: "For as the Father raiseth the dead, and QUICKENETH them; even so the SON QUICKENETH WHOM HE WILL" (John 5:21). And again in verse 26: "For as the Father hath LIFE IN HIMSELF; so hath He given to the Son TO HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF...."! It was because He had Life in Himself that He was able to IMPART that Life to others! Virtue went out of Him, Divine Life flowed like a river to the hungry, huddled masses of the world, those who sat in the darkness of depravity and deprivation, in the region of the shadow of death. Jesus came to preach "deliverance to the captives", to the spirits that were in prison; to those who were imprisoned in "the bondage of corruption". There was no depth He would not descend into, no place that was too low. And the Good Shepherd manifested His love for His lost sheep by the fact that He was willing to reach down into the horrible pit and mirey clay of immorality and debauchery. JUST TO RESCUE ONE from certain death! One lost sheep was just as important to Him as the ninety and nine who were safe in the fold!
We have read that "God so loved THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son." The fact that He gave His Life for the sins of the whole world is indisputably a declaration of His great love wherewith He loved us. But sometimes the universality of this statement seems impersonal. The truth of the matter is that GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD...THE WORLD THAT MEN ARE, that He gave His Son! Within every man, there is a private little world; a world full of complexities, diversities, anxieties, and complications; of secret struggles, weaknesses, and worries. It is the REAL WORLD where men live out their lives; a world which, on the most part, others know little, if anything, about. Often while men give the appearance of being settled and secure on the outside, there is an inner turmoil going on inside; a raging war, a literal hell of confusion. It is from THIS WORLD they cry for deliverance, FOR SOMEONE TO CARE. Is not this the plea Christ came in response to, the mission field to which He was sent? Although there were times where Jesus spake to the multitudes, He became intimately involved with INDIVIDUALS, as well. He was concerned with the personal problems of His people! The words of Exodus 3:7-8 enunciate the burden of His heart: "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people...and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; FOR I KNOW THEIR SORROWS; And I AM COME DOWN TO DELIVER THEM...and TO BRING THEM UP out of that land into a good land and a large..."! This typically decribes the mission for which Christ was sent; He descended to deliver, and to lift men up out of "the slimepits of Egypt", into "a large place" in the Spirit!
In the fourth chapter of John, we see a beautiful illustration of this. As Jesus rested on Jacob's well, a woman of Samaria came to draw water. As she approached, He requested that she give Him to drink. Knowing that the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, looking upon them as "dogs", this certainly struck her as strange that He should desire something from her. Then Jesus said unto her, "IF THOU KNEWEST THE GIFT OF GOD, AND WHO IT IS THAT SAYETH TO THEE, GIVE ME TO DRINK, THOU WOULDEST HAVE ASKED OF HIM, AND HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN THEE LIVING WATER" (verse 10)! What a striking contrast between "a living soul", which had nothing to offer, and "a quickening (life-giving) Spirit"! In her natural reasoning, she began to say, "Sir, THOU HAST NO THING TO DRAW WITH, AND THE WELL IS DEEP: from whence then hast thou that living water"? What she didn't understand was that the " living water" which He spake of was not "drawn up", requiring the efforts of man, but CAME DOWN! One of the characteristics of running water is that IT ALWAYS SEEKS THE LOWEST PLACE; even as they spake, the GIFT OF GOD was flowing down to her! Like a beautiful stream cascading down the mountainside, the Spirit of Christ was coming down to her level, CONDESCENDING TO HER LOW ESTATE! Hallelujah! Jesus entered into her "little world", descending from the "uttermost" condemnation upon her, pushing her even lower, but began to RAISE HER UP IN THE NEWNESS OF LIFE! Though she had made her "bed in hell" (Ps. 139:7-8), so to speak, HE WAS THERE! Though He knew her "downsitting and uprising", and though He understood her thoughts afar off, being acquainted with all her ways, HE DID NOT USE THAT KNOWLEDGE AGAINST HER! Instead, He used it as an occasion to offer her UNMERITED GRACE! She received a visitation from "the Father of mercies, the God of ALL COMFORT" (II Cor. 1:3) that changed her world; and as a result, she joyfully ran through the streets, proclaiming, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: IS NOT THIS THE CHRIST"?
It is a sad, but true indictment that much of what is promoted in Christendom today is aimed toward appealing to the covetous desires of the natural man. It is a ploy to make converts through emphasizing WHAT WE GET by accepting God's provisional plan, rather than WHY WE GET IT. Make a survey of the hymns so often sung in church today, and it will not take you long to see that the theme repetitiously conveyed to the listener is geared toward SELFISHNESS; that "THE BLESSED HOPE" of the church is that any moment, we may be raptured out of this sin-blasted, problem-laden planet, caught away to that heavenly "Disney Land" in the sky, while the rest of our friends, relatives, and loved ones who were less fortunate than we, are swept into a burning hell! The general idea is that we will be having so much fun eating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, swimming in the River of Life, walking on Streets of Gold, polishing our crowns, etc. that we will not have enough time to think of those poor souls who are enduring great tribulation upon the earth! Please pardon me in my folly, but this childish message cheapens the Gospel, perverting the Biblical view of heaven by portraying it as a place where we have nothing constructive to do, and all of eternity to do it in! It brings our incorruptible inheritance down to the level of infantile carnality, seeking to "literalize" that which is spiritual! But worst of all, it robs believers of their MOST IMPORTANT HOPE.... THE HOPE OF THEIR BEING TOTALLY DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION, SO THAT THEY MIGHT BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY, AS QUICKENING SPIRITS! I dare say that this kind of evangelism generally produces LIVING SOULS, rather than LIFE-GIVING SPIRITS; a people whose main interest is THEMSELVES! It "justifies" the selfish nature of Adam in man, giving him just cause to ignore the groaning creation around him, while he seeks to secure his own personal pleasure and preservation!
How different Paul's attitude was. In Rom. 9:1-5, we read where he was in "great heaviness and sorrow in his heart".... being burdened for his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh. "FOR I COULD WISH MYSELF ACCURSED FROM CHRIST FOR MY BRETHREN...." (verse 3)! Imagine that, if you will! Paul was so moved with compassion, so straightened by their spiritual blindness, that he actually willed that he might trade places with them; insomuch that HE WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY GONE TO HELL IN THEIR PLACE! Is not this what it means to be "accursed from Christ"? It was this same Paul, who taught the church in Ephesus the beautiful truth that we who are in Christ Jesus have already been "QUICKENED together" with Him; and "HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER, AND MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS" (Eph. 2:1-7)! This was not just mystical terminology to Paul; he understood "ASCENSION LIFE" to be a reality! He had encountered it in a way few of us have ever experienced! And yet, he had become so "one" with the broken heart of Christ, so intimately involved with His concerns, that he would have gladly descended from that high spiritual dimension, SURRENDERING HIS SONSHIP LIFE IN THE HEAVENS, if it would have effectuated the salvation of his Israelite brethren! NOW THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS TO BE MOVED WITH COMPASSION! Oh, how I hope you can hear these words! God is preparing the hearts of His chosen ones in these last days WITH A MESSAGE OF MATURITY, a Word of enlightenment that EVERYTHING WE HAVE RECEIVED, OR EVER WILL RECEIVE as our inheritance is not for our benefit alone, but IT'S FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS! This must be the prime motivation for all that we do; THIS IS THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH WE ARE SENT! We must willingly "lay down our lives for the brethren"; obtaining, that we might have to OFFER; freely receiving, that we might have to freely GIVE! Laying hold on the "high call of God in Christ Jesus", that we might be able to effectively DELIVER OTHERS "FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION, INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF CHILDREN OF GOD"! Hallelujah!
This is the vision given consistently throughout Scripture. My mind goes back to Moses, who after he and the Israelites had gone as far as the Lord had directed, was called to ascend to the top of Mt. Sinai for further instructions. "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled... and Mt. Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly... and THE LORD CAME DOWN upon Mt. Sinai, on the top of the mount: and THE LORD CALLED MOSES UP to the top of the mount; AND MOSES WENT UP" (Ex. 19:1, 18, 20). Imagine this awe-inspiring scene, if you will; Moses alone was allowed to enter into the fiery cloud high atop Mt. Sinai, amidst "thunderings, lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet" ....to witness things that no other man was permitted to behold. He was "caught up", so to speak, to meet the Lord in the midst of the glory cloud! It was here (at different times) in the presence of God that he received the Commandments, the designs for the Tabernacle, and a special privilege to behold the glory of the Lord. He entered into an experience that actually transcended the laws of mortality, in that for forty days and nights, he neither ate or drank. During this time, he was not dependent upon natural means for sustenance; for he was nurtured and sustained by the PRESENCE OF DIVINITY (it is doubtful that thoughts of food, drink, or even sleep came in mind)! And although he was personally blessed by this experience, it was not for his enjoyment alone; because he was there AS AN INTERCESSOR FOR, AND REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE! He ASCENDED into the cloud, that he might DESCEND in due season with a blessing for the people! He transported the glory upon his countenance, the Word of God in his hands, and a revelation of God's plans in his heart, to those dwelling in the valley below. He became GOD'S VISITATION TO HIS PEOPLE, condescending to men of low estate, and leading them onward to the fullness of their inheritance!
Had Moses been taught the popular escapist theology of our times, he might have forgotten his brethren who were down in the valley, and the tremendous problems they faced as a nation. I mean, really.... this guy Moses had it made! He didn't have anything to worry about, as long as he was in that high and lofty place with the Lord! This was paradise for him! But listen to his burdened heart in Ex. 32, verses 31-32: "And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin ---; and if not, BLOT ME OUT OF THY BOOK WHICH THOU HAST WRITTEN"! It is obvious that this heart was with God's people; insomuch that, if they didn't receive mercy and forgiveness for their sins, HE REFUSED TO GO ON WITHOUT THEM! Moses could not be content to remain in his blissful state while others were separated from God; his spirit groaned deeply within him for their deliverance.... AND GOD HEARD HIS PRAYER!
I can imagine that sacred scene from the Old Testament times, when, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest passes through the veil into the Holiest of Holies. What a wonderful privilege this was, to meet with God before the Mercy Seat; an honor reserved for ONE MAN, ONE TIME, at the end of the year! Once he entered, he took incense in his hands, and a censor full of burning coals from the brazen altar. Placing the censor upon the Mercy Seat between the cherubim, he cast the incense into it, causing a cloud of smoke to arise.... AND THE LORD MET WITH HIM IN THE CLOUD! God came in all His splendor and majesty, MIGHTY TO SAVE!
While he tarried in the manifest presence of God, vast multitudes were waiting on the outside, looking expectantly for a sign of his glorious departure. Their forgiveness, blessing and future depended on it! You see, the High Priest was not there just to enjoy the spectacular scenery; this was a fearful, and life-threatening event for him; for he stood vicariously in that heavenly atmosphere for the people, to atone for the annual sins of the whole nation! Upon his breastplate were twelve beautiful gemstones, each representing the tribes of Israel in their respective order. He bore those names upon his heart into the throne room of God, that they might receive mercy and grace to help them in their time of need! Can you imagine what a dazzling brilliance he must have shone with, as the glory of God's presence engulfed him round about? Those representative "stones of fire" not only reflected, but were literally filled with heavenly light, ABSORBING THE EFFECTS OF THAT DIVINE VISITATION! And when he exited from behind the veil, HE HAD THE GLORY OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE! He brought hope and encouragement to the wearied masses of men, because his very appearance gave them the assurance that Yahweh had pleased to forgive them!
To be continued................. Terry Crisp
Progressing in God
There are certain spiritual principles which are vital to our growth in God. Such rules are both fundamental and foundational in our progression in God's kingdom. In order to advance in sonship, I believe that the Lord requires that we must understand how He promotes us through His kingdom. As such, we share what the Lord has given over the years on progressing in God. We also acknowledge the wonderful insight and words of wisdom given to us on this subject several years ago by Brother J. Preston Eby, of which some are shared throughout the article. As found with the words of Jesus, "I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours" (Jhn 4:30).
Let us start by using an illustration, say we have two points, the first will be labeled as 'A' and the second as 'B'. Now let us say that point 'A' is our present experience and point 'B' is our goal, which represents our full inheritance in Jesus Christ. There is little disagreement as most share such a goal. Of course, not all have a common understanding of what our full inheritance exactly means, which is another subject for another time.
What I have observed and find most interesting is that many cannot agree on how a person gets from point A to point B. There is a wide range of ideas, some closer to the truth than others. Our own experience has been that some would try to convince us that point B can only be obtained by dying a natural death and going to heaven; others would have us believe that point B is in the future and can only be obtained by a blessed hope called the 'rapture'; and yet others would tell us that we already have obtained all that point B represents and we only need to embrace it with our mental faculties and awaken to the consciousness of it. We do not subscribe to any of these methods and wish to share a better perspective.
We believe that we ought to move progressively in God as He reveals truth to our hearts, yielding to the inworkings of that truth. We then wait on Him, and in due time will be given the opportunity to walk out what He enables us to perform and exercise. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus....... Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule... " (Phil 3:12; 16). Therefore, to the degree of spiritual growth we have both received and reached, let us be found worthy to walk therein.
We have been taught, and have found to be true, that "in every false teaching there usually is an element of truth and it is either truth misapplied or truth mixed with error." - endquote. Sometimes, there is a fine line between truth and error and often, not always, it is both subtle and undetected by most of God's people, including Bible teachers. Now don't be quick to immediately think of someone else regarding that statement, lest we think too highly of and consider not ourselves, for everyone reading these lines are apt to be in this category. It is similar to having an eight piece puzzle and only using seven pieces to put it together or trying to force a piece where it doesn't fit. When you get near the end, the picture is incomplete and won't look the way it was originally intended. And so it is with scripture, if we misunderstand what the Holy Spirit originally intended, we can arrive at all sorts of doctrines and wrong ideas concerning God.
Permit us to go down a short rabbit trail with an example which may not be related directly to our subject but will nevertheless demonstrate what we mean and also prove beneficial to some of our readers. Take for example Satan, that old serpent, that great dragon, that devil and adversary according to the Bible. Now, I think we all know WHO Satan is. According to the words of the apostle Paul, He is that SPIRIT that works in the children of disobedience. He is the spirit who works in the wicked one and was the spirit sent into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus Christ. Likewise, I think we all know WHERE Satan works. He works in the temple of God. Technically, Satan often works in the mind. That is why we are told by the apostle Paul to be renewed in the 'spirit of our mind'. The mind needs the right Spirit at work in it, the proper influence for proper thinking, the right attitude to guide its thought. This is not to suggest that Spirit is attitude. Most definitely, one characteristic of Spirit is attitude, we all can attest to this at one time or another. Yet we can not say that Spirit IS attitude. This can be proven over and over again throughout scripture, one of which when Jesus gave up the ghost (Spirit) when He died, He did not simply give up attitude. Most assuredly, Spirit means Spirit!
Satan works in the mind, thus making it a mind that is against the anointing or contrary to the mind that is enChristed. When the mind works against the Lord and is at odds to His will concerning a situation, it is a mind that is carnal rather than spiritual. That is why a double minded man is unstable, one day serving the voice of the Lord, the next day serving his own will and desires. Likewise, Paul called many among the church of Corinth carnal for their envying, divisions and strife. In fact, Satan is a master in using the scriptures against us, accusing us before God day and night. Jesus told the religious of his day that they had the law of Moses to accuse them. Yet, the law cannot whisper nor can it speak. Satan is not the law for it was called holy, just and good and he was a liar and murderer from the beginning. However, Satan will use the written word as he did with Jesus in the wilderness to make you believe God said something other than what He actually said. He will quote verse upon verse, barring the Spirit, and minister condemnation, guilt, lies and death. When judgment comes in this manner, whether it is you discerning your own self or another, it is most often the accuser of the brethren. However, Jesus came not to condemn people but rather to deliver them. When our thoughts and words are one of comfort, edification, encouragement, building-up, etc., then you can rest assured that it is the Holy Spirit at work. When we or another fail, we needn't minister condemnation, but rather restore such a person in the spirit of meekness. It is like a loving Father with a child, "that's ok, you failed the test but don't worry, I am here with you to try it again. I love you and will help guide you all the way through it, and will not give up on you no matter how many times you fail."
Continuing with our bunny trail, scripture states that through death Jesus might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil. What does this mean? Remember, the wrong conclusion could lead to all sorts of bizarre ideas and interpretation. Do we conclude that Satan no longer exists, that he has been annihilated? Do we conclude that Satan is simply a memory that cannot be shaken? If that were the case, then I would say that our memory has become just as strong as any devil ever was! No, this would be dealing with the same problem while simply naming it something different. No, our slogan is not to be 'Satan is dead, long live his memory'.... if it were the case.
Furthermore, if Christ annihilated Satan or brought him to non-existence, then explain to me how the apostle Paul delivered some over to Satan for disciplinary actions. Explain how something that didn't exist could have hindered the apostle Paul from seeing some brethren on one particular occasion. Explain how other brethren turned aside after Satan, or how there is a reference of the power of Satan, another of the will of him, and why we are to resist the devil and he will flee from us rather than the memory of him. Nay, we are to be more noble than those in our day and receive the word with all readiness of mind, searching the scriptures daily to see if it is really what is said. It is our duty and God-given honour to search out a matter.
In our study, we have found that when Jesus DESTROYED Satan, the word actually means to render without effect, ceased or brought to nought. In other words, Christ brought Satan to a place of rendering him entirely idle or useless. Jesus came to the place where He could say, "Satan cometh and findeth nothing in me". Jesus rendered Satan powerless in His own personal life. Yet we can see that he was not annihilated, he still exists. Why? So we can become devil conscious and cast out demons all day long? Certainly not, for we are called to be conscious of God, understanding that He created the waster to destroy everything that can be ruined. Satan has been given divine instruction and purpose to leave behind only that which will come forth as shining gold and be counted worthy of the kingdom of God.
Over the past ten years, there has been more of a Christian Mind & Science and Metaphysical approach to Christian teachings, especially among those professing deeper truths. Accordingly, many of the wonderful truths in which we aspire and press toward can be obtained in an all together different manner than what is laid before us by God in His Word. Terms and phrases like, 'You are already complete; you are whole and perfect without exception; you already have the fulness; you are of full age and mature; you are already manifested; etc.' have been used loosely and without any indication of balance, which is actually an abomination to the Lord. But does scripture teach that it is simply an awakening to the consciousness that we will inherit such things? Is it simply a matter of men awakening to what they already have or who they really are, the fulness of their true identity?
Now, let us state up front that there is truth in the concept of our wholeness and completeness in God. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head..." (Col. 2:9-10). If fact, if a person has received the Lord, then he has received the Christ in His fulness for Christ comes to us in the fulness that He is, He does not send part of Himself. Christ is not fragmented, He is whole and complete in Himself, lacking nothing. He comes to us in the fulness of Himself, yet in a sense we receive Him in a measure. Not due to unbelief, but rather to our capacity. If God came to us in our experience in all the fulness of Himself, in manifestation, in realization, we could not handle it, it would bust us at the seams, it would blow our fuses! Many fundamentalists have made the mistake to believe they receive everything including their infilling of the Spirit at conversion. Likewise, many pentecostal and charismatic folk believe that they receive everything once they had experienced the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. And it is also true of many neo-Charismatics which believe the full manifestation of every promise is at our immediate disposal upon command.
So, in His infinite wisdom God does come to us in His fulness, God in Christ reconciling us to Himself, yet He comes to us in seed form. This principle is woven throughout scripture. There must be a development, an unfolding of the seed of God within us. That is what growth is all about, what maturity and change is all about. Nature bears this out time and time again. A caterpillar is not a butterfly in a moment of time, a puppy is not a great dane in an instant, a flower is not a flower in a day and a tree doesn't become a tree overnight. For example, as friend and excellent minister, Brother J. Preston Eby has basically shared with me, "Take the acorn the size of a marble, contained in the acorn are all the elements that will one day make the mighty oak tree spread its limbs and cast its shadow across the earth. Now the oak is in the acorn, yet a person can not say that they have an oak tree and all that it is. They have it, but yet they don't have it. They have it in seed form." - endquote. They have it from God's positional viewpoint, but they do not have it in their experience according to God's timetable, the fulness of time. Christ in you is the hope of glory. As the inner man, Christ has been received in seed form and now there must be an unfolding, upgrowth, progression, development, evolution, advancement, from glory to glory, from strength to strength, from faith to faith, from grace to grace, precept upon precept and line upon line, here a little and there a little. (note: We rule out the suggestion that the inner man in his progression stumbles from time to time and makes little mistakes here and there, as in his babyhood. Paul clearly stated that "whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin". He makes no mistakes, he never misses the target)!
Each stage of our development is contingent upon certain conditions, specific circumstances, required qualifications that has to be met. Certain ingredients have to be injected into our experience in order for the unfolding to continue. It is similar to getting a drivers license, you must be of proper age and you must also pass the required test in order to drive.
Yes, we are complete and yet we are not complete. Again, the words of Brother Eby, "We are complete as far as our inherent potential of God within us, yet we are not complete as far as our unfolding of that potential." - endquote. My friends, Christ in you is the hope of glory. Christ in you is the inherent potential of God within and the hope or expectation of the glory is the unfolding of that potential. That tells me that there is more to come, a future, if you will, of the unfolding. We should not completely dismiss any notion of anything that appears to be futuristic, claiming that we have it all while manifesting something much less. Yet, we also mustn't lose sight that the gospel is centered in what God has done rather than in what He is going to do. Indeed, we would all do well to simply mediate on the ever present I AM and the fulness of that which we have attained in our daily walk.
This brings us to the question, 'is it just an awakening of what a person already has or who they really are? Is it a quickening of the consciousness of what already exists?' The answer can be found in the earlier example of the acorn and the oak tree. Is an oak tree already the mighty oak while it is in seed form? Is it a simple matter of an awakening of the seed's consciousness to know that it is an oak tree in order to become one? The answer is no, a thousand times NO! An acorn can say I am an oak tree; and believe it's an oak tree; and visualize it's an oak, and confess and meditate and...... etc. for all of the eons throughout time, yet can never be the great oak tree until what happens? Until the progression, unfolding and development from one stage to another with all of its conditions and qualifications which are necessary in order to cause those changes to occur or take place. Man always wants to bypass the ways of God and His mode of operation. We live in a society that is used to getting things instantly, without waiting on it. We have instant coffee, instant pudding and now instant sonship, almost like a superman out of the phone booth, if you please.
So why the problem? Where do these ideas come from? Well, first learn that the scriptures teach that there are two minds; one is the mind of the flesh or carnal mind, the other is the mind of the Spirit. The renewing of the mind is one of replacing the natural mind with the spiritual mind. One problem is when we try to embrace something through our soulish means. For example, if we act on the natural mind to think spiritual, it is really an exercise of futility. It is trying to reform the natural mind or change its thinking but actually what we have is enmity with God. Besides, "Who by thought can add one cubit to his stature"? You can not speed up your growth in God. Some may plant and others water, but only God can give the increase. Now, I personally believe that we can hinder our growth by not yielding and responding to His inworking, but we cannot advance our progress any quicker than His appointed time.
There is a spiritual mind that is born of the Spirit. This mind will think, understand and act spiritual. We should not be found trying to reform the carnal mind and change our way of thinking or alter or raise our consciousness into a higher dimension. This is soulish power and a carnal exercise rather than a spiritual one. How can we tell the difference? How do you know if you are trying to make the carnal mind think spiritual or are you operating out of the spiritual mind? The answer in centered in revelation. The spiritual mind is based on revelation. Jesus asked who do they say that I am? His disciples answered, some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah. But Simon Peter answered, thou are the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus answered "Blessed art thou Simon Barjona for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee but my Father which is in heaven." This was revelation from a source other than Peter. And it is this very same source who will impart revelatory truth, and it is this truth that will transform us from one glory to another.
On the other hand, the natural mind is actually soulish and will try to make something true that isn't true. For example, the everso famous Charismatic trait of naming and claiming or blabbing and grabbing. Some call it commanding faith. They claim something that they desire or believe to be true, they speak positively and make a confession, they embrace it with their mental faculties, pronounce it to be true and then believe that it will happen because of the right confession. Now, we also believe in speaking a creative word out of the realm of Spirit. In fact, not so long ago the Lord put on my heart to do so regarding a person living in a nearby area. This person was negatively speaking against a friend and minister, coveting his assembly. So, unbeknownst to the person, I spoke a word and they ended up packing their bags and moving out of the area. The key was it was prompted by the Lord and that it worked! The problem with many of the above examples is that they don't work very often, the healings, finances, miracles, etc., the list goes on. It leaves untold multitudes in disillusion either because they did not receive it or they were self deceived in believing that they have received and experienced a thing which in fact is only an imagination of their natural thinking. (I often think that many would do well to read the acts of the early apostles to discern the difference for our day).
There is an inherent tendency in man when he believes something to be true, (and he may believe it correctly, perhaps by revelation of the spirit), when God proclaims He will do this or that for His people, then man expects to immediately see the result. And if the vision tarries and time passes as did with the prophets; "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace, and of the increase of his government there shall be no end....." (Isa 9:6-7); yet Jesus Christ was not born and given for some seven hundred years later! When revelation comes from God, it often comes in timelessness as though it were true. Yet there is always an appointed time in God for every activity, for every purpose to be fulfilled. I also think that we need to be reminded that there is past, present and future tense in the Bible. "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" (II Cor. 1:10). And again, "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come...." (Rev. 1:4). Regarding the tenses in the Hebrew, I find with much interest that according to the author of the Young's Literal Translation, Mr. Robert Young said, "the Hebrew language has a habit of expressing the certainty of an action taking place by putting it in the past tense!" - endquote.
So when a vision tarries or when God speaks a word (or when men imagine God has spoken a word) and they don't see the fruit of it, when they have not experienced or laid hold of the promise, there is that tendency to find a way to make it true, to find a method or system in which they can invent the reality or presume it to be true and fulfilled. Then the natural mind will try to explain the reality in terms of their present experience, as though what is experienced is in some odd and mystical way the fulfillment of that word in which God spoke. This self deception actually brings the word that God spoke down to a lower level than what was ever intended in the revelation first given by God.
This same principle of naming and claiming has found its way into those professing to believe in the deeper truths of the Christian way. All of the fulness, the manifestation of the sons of God, all of the glory and immortality, incorruption, everything we anticipate in God is now possible by this principle. But it has been dressed up and made more respectable, it is now called Christ Consciousness. Now nothing is wrong with that term, we also use this phrase. The problem lies in what we mean when we use it. Statements like, "by awakening our consciousness and raising it to see what we are and who we have always been; The God in you has simply been asleep; You really are an oak tree, can't you see it!" violate basic principles and deviate from truth. God would have us know that by nature we were the children of wrath. We really fell, it was not simply a dream. A man will manifest what is in his heart, especially in difficult situations. As he thinks in his heart, his core and inner state of being, so is he. So, we see that awakening the consciousness out of our own efforts is really just the same principle as commanding faith and will most often fall short and leave a person empty and frustrated.
God is a God of progression. We see it with Noah, Abraham, the children of Israel, the day of Pentecost and all throughout scripture. God has appointed days, times and seasons for everything under the sun. There is an appointed day when the saints will judge the world. Every day is part of the unfolding and advancing of God. We must become related to God in the specific thing that He is doing in our generation and time, and more specifically in our daily walk with Him. It was when the day of Pentecost was fully come that God moved mightily. The promise to Abraham was to leave his country and his seed would be innumerable as the stars of heaven and the sand of the sea, though he only saw one son of promise, Isaac, and perhaps Jacob. Yet if any other man tried to lay hold of Abraham's word and promise, he would not have attained it. It was a particular promise to a particular man for a particular time. We must become familar and learn what is planned for each successive age. He says to be holy as He is holy. This is a word to the elect, His church. It is not a word to the unbeliever, to the world right now. In this age God is dealing with His elect, judgment comes first to the house of God. We would be wise to examine ourselves if we are of the faith. He is now building the tabernacle of David, He is not trying to save the world. Then in the next age to come, the sons will deliver nations. And in the following age, departed spirits chained in outer darkness shall be delivered as Jesus did with the disobedient spirits in the days of Noah.
We must come related to God in relationship, in union, in active participation of what He is doing in our lives and our generation. Therefore, let us go on to perfection, a path that will lead to fulness of age and complete maturity. This is not an easy route. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Mat. 7:13-14). We are to enter in at the strait gate, for many are entering at the gate that is wide. One path is broad and common to man, an easy path and the way of the world, including many in religion. Many are called, but few are chosen. Many will go the way of least resistance, where it is broad and leads to destruction. The other way is narrow and is contrary to most. It is a definite path, yet a way that is the result of squeezing or pressure (tribulation). On this path, there is a flaming sword turning every way to keep the way of life. This narrow way leads to life, fulness of life! According to the words of Paul, a man can suffer loss, yet be saved. Likewise, the broad way leads to loss or ruin which is what the word 'destruction' means. The prodigal son was lost or ruined, yet was found. Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost, ruined or destroyed. And we are assured that whosoever believes in Christ should not perish, suffer loss or ruin, but rather have life! Praise the Lord, there is a way that leads to life, fulness of life while in this land of the living, for today is the day of salvation. And it must be His way in which we progress in the kingdom of God, for the Lord Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. It must be His way for your life. It is not simply one particular way or another, such as the question of whether it is a wilderness alone experience or a local assembly. Some try to convince us it must be one way for everyone, else they risk their inheritance. Yet, remember the words of Jesus to Peter concerning John, "What is it to thee what I do with him?" So why do we get so concerned about the path God has chosen for another? Learn His way for you!
In closing, let us speak a word of encouragement and remind others that growth is not always perceived. Don't make the common mistake of examining your progress in comparison to how God moved and manifested Himself in times past. In fact, sometimes things can get real quiet and slow, a time which we ought to cherish. It is during these times when we learn to walk by faith and not sight. This reminds me of an article I read over a year ago on the great Antarctic and its vast ice landscape. This gigantic frozen ocean which stretches to the horizon like a white desert looks dormant with no movement of life anywhere. Yet beneath the solid ice flows a water current with more life contained within than perhaps all of the other oceans combined. And interesting enough, man cannot conquer, settle or own it. The winter ice belongs to itself! Likewise, we may not perceive growth, we may not understand that the seed is unfolding, advancing or developing, sometimes in leaps and bounds. For some, it may look dormant or inactive, yet never forget that there is a current of life which cannot be stopped, a flow of activity which serves as a rich pasture throughout the creation of God!
The Totality Of Redemption
To have the totality of something is to have the total amount, the whole or entirety of it. Webster tells us that 'totality' means wholeness, which in turn carries the idea of being complete, unimpaired and perfect. To have the 'total' of anything is to have the entire or complete sum or amount. TOTAL means whole, complete amount, quality of anything not divided; the entirety. Webster also tells us that 'complete' means a total absolute, to make whole or perfect. It also means to FULFILL A CONTRACT! Let's look at this contract from God's viewpoint. It is HE and HE ALONE that fulfills both sides of the contract. Therefore, we could call it an unbreakable iron clad contract, one that is ABSOLUTE.
Take the case of Abraham who had the sacrifice in place on the altar. It was divided into two pieces, and then GOD put Abraham to sleep. Then, thank GOD HE HIMSELF passed between the two pieces and fulfilled both sides of the contract or covenant. In plain English, man could not pollute it. This is A PERFECT COVENANT. It is ABSOLUTE AND UNREVOKEABLE.
"And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between the pieces" (Gen 15:17). The 'lamp' is symbolic of Israel's deliverance (see Isa 62:1). If you have a Companion Bible, see the note on verse 12. Abram was put to sleep so that he should have no part in it, and that the covenant should be unconditional, in which "God was the One" and only contracting party.
"Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one" (Gal 3:20). "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none affect" (v17).
For Genesis 15:17, the Septuagint says, "And when the sun was about to set, there was a flame, and behold a smoking furnace and lamps of fire, which passed between these divided pieces". Also read the next verse for the Covenant of Promise to Abram is listed there. The Fenton translation says, "After the sun set, followed by thick darkness, a bright cloud appeared; a blazing fire, which passed between the pieces. At the same time the EVER-LIVING made a covenant with Abram".
The TOTALITY OF REDEMPTION IS HERE AND IT IS 100% THE EVERLIVING!!
Before moving on, it needs to be corrected that REDEMPTION AND REDEEM have the same meaning. They positively do not. Redeem means to buy back. We were HIS in the beginning, for out of HIM we came. We then were subjected to vanity and futility, hence the need of A Saviour to REDEEM or to pay the ransom to buy us back. This is not a REDEMPTION, but this will come in due time for ALL classes, ranks or orders. It is GOD Himself Who chooses the order in which we are to come in, and not we ourselves, for we were dead in trespasses and sins, don't you know? And the dead know NOTHING. The Lord Jesus Christ was the Ransom price paid to REDEEM us back to God.
"Who (Christ) gave Himself as a RANSOM for ALL (people, a fact that was) attested to at the right and proper time" (I Tim 2:6). The next part of God's plan is the REDEMPTION that will take place in the ALL, that have been REDEEMED. We ALL are awaiting our full REDEMPTION. This takes place first in the firstfruits.
In starting at, or under the Old Covenant, the term REDEMPTION was very much connected with our other word REDEEM, which of course means to buy back. Our first scriptures bring to our attention that redemption means right or price of redemption. The Hebrew word used is 'geullah'. (Before we proceed, I must mention that the Christ was indeed the RANSOM PRICE, The Personified REDEMPTION price for us. This was paid to REDEEM US). Oh! As you can see from this, the two operations of God are, you could say, inseparable, which means incapable of being separated. REMEMBER! First REDEEM, THEN comes REDEMPTION. Under Grace our redemption could be compared to the Jubilee, which is also a type of our loosing. We are getting ahead here, so lets back up to the Old Testament term for redemption.
"He sent REDEMPTION unto His people: He has commanded His covenant forever: holy and reverend is His name" (Ps. 111:9). In this verse we have three things mentioned: His people; His covenant; and His name.
Rotherham states, "Ransom hath He sent to His people. He hath commanded, to times age abiding, His covenant. Holy and reverend is His name". Lamsa says, "He sent salvation to His people". Here we have it, REDEMPTION, RANSOM AND SALVATION. I say unto you that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Personification of All Three!
In Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew dictionary gives number 6304 for redemption to mean as distinction as well as deliverance. It also means the state of being delivered or liberation. I pray that before this study is finished, you will see that this word given under the old covenant was but a type and a shadow. It did teach something, and that was, without an inward change they could never fulfill one iota of the word that was given. As we move to the new covenant, we find that the same rule applies. No inward change, no outward change. People have found that even New Year's resolutions, as the letter of the law so to speak, can be broken rather easily, for it is after the law of the flesh. All the words that Jesus Himself spoke, most people could not keep them. The point to be made here is, in order to keep the words of life, we need an inward change. The fleshly carnal man just could not fulfill any of this in himself alone, for we need life imputed to us, in order for us to walk in LIFE. THIS TAKES AN ACT OF GOD, AND GOD ALONE.
Let's take a closer look at the word DISTINCTION for it is tied to the word REDEMPTION. In the Hebrew Lexicon, it points out that it means 'I will set a DISTINGUISHING between My people and thy people'. We see just as Jesus was the Visible personification of the Spirit of the Word, does not absolve us from the personal application in our life, as firstfruits. Jesus Himself was a prototype and a trail blazer that made the way for us to follow, and this we will do. The Corporate firstfruits are also trailblazers that open the way for others to follow. There must be that personal application, of atonement, and REDEMPTION to take place in each one of us. This then, will be the mark of God upon us, which will distinguish the Spirit from the flesh. The mark is the sword of His Word, which will SEPARATE the soul man from the Spirit man. This has nothing to do with visible gender. I have met men walking in a soul realm (woman) and I have met women who are walking in the Spirit realm (masculine) AND never the twain do meet, for what fellowship can light have with darkness? At the final RESTITUTION of ALL things, there will be no more darkness.
To distinguish is to set apart as different or to be a distinctive characteristic of, as to make prominent. It also means to put a difference. The difference between one who has come into his atonement and REDEMPTION and the one not processed into life is as distinct as the sun and the moon. The Spiritual man who has come through the redemptive process of God is the One Who has been separated unto God, and he is no longer his own man, as they say, for this new Spiritual man has yielded himself wholly unto God. Please notice that even separation is part of the redemption that will take place in each of us in our own order.
"Let Israel hope in the LORD: For with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous REDEMPTION" (Ps. 130:7).
"O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is mercy and loving-kindness, and with HIM is plenteous REDEMPTION. And HE WILL redeem Israel from ALL their iniquities" (Ps. 130:7-8 Amp).
"For in the LORD is love unfailing, and great is HIS power to set men free. HE alone will set Israel free from ALL their sins" (NEB).
As you see in these two translations, both REDEMPTION AND REDEEM are used. REDEMPTION will eradicate the sin nature in its entirety while REDEEM has brought us back. We have to also look at the word PLENTEOUS. This is an overabundant supply that leaves nothing to chance, or more than enough. Another definition for plenteous is abundant, fruitful, yielding abundantly, bountiful, more than an adequate supply, an over-adequate quantity, and of plenty.
It is worth repeating, the ransom price for ALL creation has been met, and has been paid. Therefore, what remains is the REDEMPTION that will loosen and set the creation free to walk in newness of life. The teaching of a lake of endless literal fire is a lie. It is a doctrine of devils, that would damn and condemn. On God's side, we have the Totality of REDEMPTION, WHICH IS THE FULLNESS OF REDEMPTION. YES! indeed, God's love takes in the ALL, and it encompasses both heaven and earth.
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH" (Lk. 21:28). These things are happening in the earth today, and are a signal for the firstfruits that their time of REDEMPTION has arrived. This will also mean the time to receive their new body which has arrived. This is a full ransom, salvation to the utmost, an entire deliverance, REDEMPTION!
As a prefix, 'RE' usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc. In studying the word 'redemption', it also is connected with the idea of something to loosen with, atonement. This is what redemption will bring to us. It will be the fullness of each of these principles here shared, and it has to be the personal application in each one of us. From the firstfruits on down, until ALL COME!
It also has to BECOME experiential in each one of us. This is that partaking of the divine nature that will bring this about, and it is absolutely an act of God, and not man.
A word regarding SEPARATION before continuing. It is a separation from and a separation unto. This is also a divine act by God such as when God appeared to Paul and brought about a complete change of direction, from law to LIFE. When God appears unto you, it also will bring about a complete change of direction and a separation. For us it was a change from the Levi priesthood, and this is a radical change and it is a separation, for now we look to God for our life and not man for our direction in life.
Indeed, it us a divine action in setting men apart for the work of the gospel (Good News). It is not good news, to say, that God will send 80% of HIS creation to some roasting pit for all of eternity. The Good News is that ALL nations shall come and worship before HIM. This is not by force but by love for when creation see God's wonderful plan of salvation and HIS great LOVE, they will worship HIM FREELY and they will love HIM. When one comes into RESURRECTION life, than that one has been separated from death.
"Being justified freely by HIS grace through the REDEMPTION that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom 3:24 KJV). Note, this a work of grace that brings REDEMPTION to us to loosen us from the old nature, and the old man Adam, and the old man can not do anything to help it along. "All are justified (declared righteous) and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the REDEMPTION which is (provided) in Christ Jesus" (Rom 3:24 Amp).
Declared Righteous! This does not mean "just as if I had never sinned". Let me repeat, it DOES NOT MEAN "just as if I had never sinned". This is one of the natural man's teaching. So, then brethren, we would say unto you, throw it out, and walk on with God. When God declares you to be righteous, that is exactly what He means. Are we to believe God or man? What God has declared righteous, and please see this in the Spirit, that this state of righteousness is a man that has never sinned. This is one of those ABSOLUTES of God. It is irrevocable, it can not be altered or changed. Is not God called the unchangeable God? God, my brethren, does not have a plan A and plan B. THE TOTALITY OF REDEMPTION IS FOR THE TOTALITY OF ALL CREATION. The remnant that God is bringing forth in this hour, is not the completeness of HIS plan, but the beginning, for there is a harvest to follow this remnant or firstfruit company. Our God is not bound by time as man is, but HE has been working in ages past, HE is working in this age, and HE WILL work in the coming ages, to show forth His grace in a much greater measure.
One translation says, "By grace have you been saved completely in past time, with the present result that you are in a state of salvation which persists through present time, and raised up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, in order that He might exhibit for His own glory in the ages that will pile themselves one upon another in continuous succession, the surpassing wealth of His grace in kindness to us in Christ Jesus".
"That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding (surpassing) riches of His grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:7).
Notice, His grace goes beyond this age, therefore, the teaching that grace ends after this age is an untruth. This is yet another false doctrine which needs to be pulled down from your heavens, and placed under your feet, for it is an enemy of truth.
This brings a separation of the wheat and the tares, and the sooner one sees the tares of error and makes the correction within Himself, as the LORD shows you of course, for without Him we can do nothing. What happens here is that the flesh mind is being brought under the authority of the Christ mind. This brethren, then becomes a mark of maturity.
Another untruth we will correct here is, and consider this very carefully, God tells us to bless and not to curse. Here again, let us blow away some chaff. God according to some is going to roast most of HIS creation throughout eternity. This then becomes a curse, and while God Himself tells us to bless yet He supposedly will curse most of His creation. So, He tells us to do one thing while He does another. Let us brethren leave behind the lies which malign the true nature of our God which is LOVE and not sadistic or monstrous. Let us pay the price for the truth of God and by no means let it go. Let us clasp it to our breasts and never let it go. The price that has to be paid is more than some can bear at this time.
ONE OF THESE MARKS IS ALONENESS. "But let every man prove (test) his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another" (Gal. 6:4). The LORD wants us to pay attention to this word ALONE. It is not a word for all, at least at this time, but is rather the call to the firstfruits. Please, there is no condemnation for any not hearing this call. The first cause, God calls us. There are many callings, and you say, that there is a general call, which the Word refers to as the church. Again, please, not buildings with their own name over the door. At one time, they did refer to buildings under the old covenant and today it refers to the Greek word 'ekklesia', which means a calling out. This call is much more than just a calling out from the world. Out of this general calling out, God reaches in among them, and chooses some for a further calling to go further or deeper with Him. You very well could call it, the called out of the called out. Many reading this understand the aloneness that going deeper with God produces. This aloneness, as I am sure you know, also produces a separation, in which some who walked in fellowship with you have now rejected you and labeled you a heretic. As Paul once said, so worship I the WAY called heresy. My brethren, this is the narrow WAY, and it means standing on and with the truth that God gives to you. Not all creation is being called to be firstfruits, or to partake of the first resurrection.
"Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him ALONE" (Isa 51:2). "Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes (ruins) of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham WAS ONE" (Eze 33:24). "And did not He MAKE ONE? Yet had He the residue of the Spirit, and wherefore ONE? That HE might seek a GODLY seed" (Mal 2:15).
We are called, and we are chosen, one by one, not group by group. We must get back to ALONE. He, Jesus drank the cup ALONE, and so must we. Jesus drinking the cup ALONE does not mean that we do not have to do the same. Was He not the pattern Son? We are to follow in the way He marked out. The ALONE way is a solitary place, it is also a separated place. They are called to walk where they are trail blazing where they in turn, become the highway to Zion for those who follow, and follow they will, for this is the way for others to come.
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth (grieve) and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption to wit, the REDEMPTION of our body.
This is our old body being changed in the atoms, to receive our new body. We must now stop and look at this word or term 'the adoption of children' for it can be misleading. God does not 'adopt' believers as children; they are begotten as such by HIS Holy Spirit through faith. "Adoption" is a term involving the dignity of the relationship of believers as sons; it is not putting into the family by spiritual birth, but a putting into the position of sons. The adoption of the believer is set forth as still future, as it there includes THE REDEMPTION OF THE BODY where the living will be changed and those who have fallen asleep will be raised.
"But of (from) Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of (from) God is made (became) unto us wisdom, and (both) righteousness, and sanctification (holiness), and REDEMPTION" (I Cor 1:30 KJV). The Diaglott reads, "But from Him you are in the Anointed Jesus, who became our Wisdom from (out) God, Righteousness also, and Sanctification, and REDEMPTION".
Note, both the Wuest and Diaglott translations use correct words for the Greek text as in OF is FROM and MADE is BECAME. This sure clears away alot of chaff from the kernel of truth in this scripture. Just as Christ Jesus BECAME for us, we as sons BECOME for those who are to follow. This is not for boasting, and if we are to boast, our boast is to be in HIM. For it is GOD who works within us, for the purpose of HIS WILL BEING brought forth. We as sons are following in the steps of our elder brother. Yes, that is correct. Does not scripture say, that He Jesus was not ashamed to call them His brethren?
"For it was fitting that HE for Whom, and through Whom, ALL things exist, after HE had brought many sons to glory, should perfect by suffering the Prince Leader Who had saved them. For both He Who Sanctifies and those Whom He is Sanctifying have ALL one Father; and for this reason He is not ashamed to speak of them as His Brother; as when He says; I will proclaim Thy Name to my BROTHERS".
This is such a beautiful word! First, ALL things exist because of God. Second, sons are in the plural. Third, Perfection is attained by suffering. For THE CHRIST, yes, but also the sons to follow will not escape this, the pathway that He trod, we must follow in His footsteps. Fourth, Just as our Sanctifier sanctifies us, we in turn BECOME SANCTIFICATION. It is a fact that we become what He works into us! There is an exchange of nature taking placed within us by the Spirit of life, in which our weakness of the old nature is becoming less and less, and the new life within us is BECOMING stronger and stronger until we come to full maturity in HIM, and again, it is God at work within to WILL and to do of HIS good pleasure.
We, my brethren, will come to THE TOTALITY OF REDEMPTION just as THE CHRIST did. The time will come for each one of us, when the progressively growing up into Him Who is THE HEAD, comes to a climatic conclusion, meaning our full birth. Then we shall be known, as we are known. We are known of God, it therefore follows that we are yet to be unveiled, or our sonship revealed to the world.
"The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God into their own" (Rom 8:19 Phillips). When this manifestation, this glorious liberty of the sons take place, then the creation will know that their time of release has come. This is God's crowning achievement in the sons having been fulfilled, in their totality of FULL REDEMPTION. God then moves on to the other orders, of which the sons will play a major part, and that part is the saviours that will appear on Mount Zion, to judge the mount of Esau.
"In Whom (Christ) we have REDEMPTION through His Blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Eph 1:7). "In Whom we have the REDEMPTION, the release from sins" (Fenton). I am sure you have the understanding, that RELEASE means to be loosened away. Is this not a beautiful word? First to partake of this is the firstfruits, and then on down. We would say that in our study, sin in the verse from Colossians should be singular while in Ephesians it is plural. The latter deals with transgressions as a result of the sin principle. Colossians deals with the sin principle, in other words, the root, which is the source. This is what is to be removed. It is the SIN NATURE, for one sins because it is his nature to do so. So when God comes on the scene to change this, than we will have REDEMPTION; and yes THE CHRIST was our REDEMPTION, but it was also to show us there has to be a personification of this within us, that we will have an exchange of natures, so to speak. This is to be worked out in ALL creation. HIS IS WHAT THE TOTALITY OF REDEMPTION IS ABOUT.
In closing, we must briefly share on the word HEREDITARY. Simply put, the sin nature was inherited from the Adam of Genesis. So, the deeds of your fathers you will do. This my friends is what we are loosened from in our personal REDEMPTION. To inherit is by reason of birth, we did not have a choice! So then, by reason of the NEW BIRTH we live out of a new source of hereditary, God our Father. This is not our own efforts but it is THE NEW NATURE OF GOD WORKING in us and then being expressed outwardly.
This is GOD'S GLORIOUS TOTALITY OF REDEMPTION - HIS AND HIS ALONE. GLORY!!
...................Victor P. Allen
Joseph's Coat Of Many Colors
"Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because Joseph was a son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors." Genesis 37:3, KJV
There are comparisons between Joseph and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is possible to see symbolisms in the life of Joseph which could reflect upon Jesus. As Joseph was born to Israel (Jacob) in his old age, so the Heavenly Father had His promised Son born in the latter days of Humanity.
As Joseph was hated by his brothers, so was Jesus hated by many in Israel. As Joseph was sold by his brethren to the Egyptians, so was Jesus sold by a disciple into the hands of the Romans and Sanhedrin. As Joseph was falsely accused of immorality, so was Jesus accused falsely at His trial. As Joseph took an Egyptian woman to be his bride, so did Jesus take the Gentiles to be His bride which was the church. As Joseph was reconciled to his brothers, so will Jesus be reconciled to all of Israel as Paul states in Romans, chapter 11.
In the Bible, a coat or garment can represent authority and ministry. In the book of Leviticus, a priest was ordered by the Lord to put on his linen garment before he went forth by the authority of the Lord to minister at the altar of burnt offering. We see this in Leviticus 6:9. This authority was in Joseph also after he had received his coat from his father, Joseph told his brothers of his dreams and how these dreams showed that the brothers would give obeisance to him. After Joseph had told his father and his brothers about the dreams of their sheaves giving obeisance to his sheaf, their response was "shalt thou have dominion over us?" Genesis 37:7-8.
In Matthew, chapter 9 and verse 20, we read, "Behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment: for she said within herself, if I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole." The garment of Jesus represented to her His authority and the anointing to heal would flow from Him through His garment.
A coat can represent growth spiritually and physically. In 1 Samuel 2:19 we read of how Samuel's mother made him a little coat yearly and would bring it to him while he stayed with Eli the priest. Each year a new coat would have to be made to fit the growing Samuel.
It seems that early in life, Samuel began his ministry before the Lord. In 1 Samuel 2:18; we read, "But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod." And as Samuel grew and ministered before the Lord, so he needed yearly a coat to fit his growing frame; his spiritual and physical frame. God wants us to grow in His Grace and knowledge and what was good for yesterday may not be big enough for today. A change of spiritual garments for us may reflect our growth in the knowledge and revelation of His Holy Word.
As Joseph wore his coat of many colors, so in Jesus we see Him arrayed in a coat of "many colors", i.e. the colors of humanity. In that invisible coat of the Lord, we see the color of black, the color of white, the color of red, the color of yellow. Or at times, a blending of the colors of the human race. And as the foundation stones of the new city, Jerusalem reflect the colors of humanity, so we see a Savior Who wears a coat of His beloved humanity and His city of foundation stones which are symbolic of all those whom He has redeemed by His precious Blood.
And so may we see in Joseph's coat, coat of many colors, a coat that our Lord is arrayed in with His redemption covering all the colors of mankind.
.................. Jack E. Jacobsen
From Creation to the Consummation - Part VIII
The children of Israel are gathered on the east bank of the Jordan River. Moses is dead. God has given them a new leader, Joshua. The people are young and vigorous. God has raised up a new nation in the wilderness. All those who were over twenty at the time of leaving Egypt, except Joshua and Caleb, have died in the wilderness. God says to Joshua that he is to arise and go over Jordan unto the land which the Lord will give to Joshua and the Israelites. As they come to the river Jordan, God performs another miracle for His people. Just as God parted the waters at the Red Sea, so He will part the waters at Jordan. But, as the Levites, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, stepped into the waters, the water flowed away downstream and was held back upstream. Although Scripture does not indicate the means used in holding back the Jordan waters, it is stated in Joshua 3:16 that they were piled up at a specific place. This place was far removed from the actual place of crossing. Some scholars suggest that God could have allowed an earthquake, which would produce a landslide of sufficient magnitude to dam up the Jordan, for a time sufficient to permit the Hebrews to cross. These scholars state that on occasions, landslides have cut off the Jordan waters. As late as 1927, an earthquake collapsed a 150 foot cliff, causing the waters to be stopped for 21 1/2 hours.
As Jordan enters the Promised Land, he encounters the Canaanites. They are vile and wicked. God has given them 400 years of Grace (see Genesis 15:13 and 16). They have not repented and so God orders Joshua to destroy them. God does not want them to pollute the children of Israel. The inhabitants of the land are terrified (see Exodus 9:16; 15:14-16). Before they go into battle, the Lord reveals Himself to Joshua as the "Captain of the host of the Lord." With this assurance, Joshua can step forth with real faith and conviction. God says to Joshua these words, "have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." - Joshua 1:9. Joshua is the Hebrew form of Jesus, and both were leaders, Jesus Christ, the greatest. The main events of this chapter are Rahab and the spies, the crossing of the Jordan, the capture of Jericho, the defeat at Ai, the battle at Gideon when the sun stands still, the battle at Merom, and the six oppressions by the enemies of Israel. Bible references of this period can be found in the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth and I Samuel.
The first site of Israel's encampment was at Gilgal. The literal meaning of the word, Gilgal, means a "circle of stones." Here twelve stones were taken from the Jordan and used as a monument to God's faithfulness. The manna ceases and Israel begins to acquire food by natural means. The rite of circumcision, which may have been neglected during the wilderness period, was established. The Passover was celebrated, too.
The military strategy in the conquest of Canaan was designed to divide the country. Then Joshua would go and conquer the southern and northern sectors. The key to Canaan was the walled city of Jericho in central Palestine, just north of the place where the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea. Jericho was strongly fortified and the Israelites were largely untrained. The Israelites had just emerged from an undisciplined existence in the wilderness. Prior to this, they were slaves in Egypt. Yet, Jericho fell to the Hebrews. Scripture records that the victory was a supernatural one. The walls fell outward. Rahab, who had protected the Israelite spies when they came to investigate the nature of the enemy territory, was spared with her household. She had put a red cloth in her window as the indication of where these spies could hide as they looked over the operation of the enemy. The red cloth has been likened by Biblical teachers as the red thread of redemption, which runs through Scripture, and Rahab is in the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some scholars suggest that she was an inn keeper rather than a harlot, a nefarious connotation. The suggestion being in keeping inns that were erected on the top of the wide wall surrounding the city.
Sources reveal that the wall of Jericho enclosed about seven acres. The wall was double, the two walls being fifteen feet apart; the outer wall was six feet thick and the inner wall was twelve feet thick. Both walls were about thirty feet high. The two walls were linked together by houses built across the top as Rahab's house on the wall. Archaeologist, Dr. John Garstang, found that these walls were built on faulty, uneven foundations of brick, four inches thick and one to two feet long. They were laid in mud mortar. Dr. Garstang found that the outer wall fell outwards and down the hillside, dragging the inner wall and houses with it. The streak of the bricks getting gradually thinner down the slope. Dr. Garstang, past director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, excavated the ruins of Jericho in the years of 1929 to 1936. He believes that there are indications that the wall was shaken by an earthquake of which traces can be seen. God could have used this method as any other.
The wall fell as the Israelites marched around the city and blew their trumpets. At God's command, the Levites, carrying the Ark, followed by priests and armed men, walked around the city once a day for six days. The priests were blowing their trumpets during the march, but otherwise not a sound was heard. On the seventh day, they marched seven times around the city. The seventh time, while the trumpets sounded, the armed men and the people shouted, the walls fell and the city was taken. By these two events, i.e., the crossing of the Jordan and the fall of Jericho, God made it clear to the Israelites that He would pave the way and give them the country if they would trust and obey Him. It was a review of an old lesson; without trust in God and obedience to Him, Israel could not do God's work.
Shortly after the conquest of Jericho, attack was made on a place known as Ai. The literal meaning of this word is ruin. Since no account is given of the conquest of Bethel, which is only a mile and a half from Ai, some scholars infer that the battle of Ai was actually a battle for Bethel. The Reverend Vincent Hughes suggests that Ai may have been a military outpost for Bethel. It was at this battle that Achan of the tribe of Judah stole a goodly babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold. The anger of the Lord is against Israel and they experience failure. Joshua inquires of the Lord and is told of the sin in the camp. Soon the sin is exposed and the sinners are put to death and the favor of the Lord is upon His people. The victories of Israel at Jericho and Ai put terror in the hearts of the Canaanites. Most of them prepare to defend themselves, but one group, the Gibeonites determine to make an alliance with Israel as a means of self-preservation. Feigning themselves as travelers from a distant country, they succeeded in tricking Joshua into making an alliance, which was honored even when deceit was detected. The southern attack by Joshua happened when five kings from the south went to war against the Gibeonites. They appeal to Joshua for aid. Joshua responds and comes upon the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon as they are camped near Gibeon. The attack of Joshua is successful and the armies flee. The Lord casts down big stones from heaven and kills more of the enemy than the Israelites. But Joshua is afraid that the remaining ones will escape in the coming darkness. Joshua calls upon the Lord and then says, "sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon." And the sun does not go down for about a whole day, "for the Lord fought for Israel." Daylight was miraculously prolonged so that Joshua's victory might be complete.
The third campaign was against the enemies of the North. Jabin, king of the powerful city of Hazor determined to lead a resistance movement, which might check the progress of Israel. So great was the Israelite threat that Jabin had no difficulty enlisting the help of other kings. This Hazor confederacy grouped its forces in the vicinity of the Waters of Merom for a showdown battle with Joshua. Joshua took the offensive and launched a surprise attack, his usual technique on the field of battle. The Hazor confederacy fled as far as Sidon on the Phoenician coast. In about six years the Israelites under Joshua, had conquered thirty-one kings and had taken their territory. Joshua casts lots before the Lord and divides the land among the tribes as the Lord had commanded. However, Israel did not completely obey the Lord to drive out the enemy from secret lurking places. Many areas were by-passed and resistance continued from some sectors until the time of David. During David's time, all resistance and residuals of the enemy were completely done away.
And so the most deadly enemy which lurked was the idol-worship of the Canaanites. There were three idols of which afflicted the Israelites at times. The three idols were baal worship, ashtoreth worship and moloch worship. A brief commentary can be given on each one.
Baal worship: Baal was the sun god. He represented the productive activity of nature. His altars were generally built in groves on hills. In the evenings, sacrifices were brought to him and worshippers celebrated by committing acts of immorality.
Ashtoreth worship: Ashtoreth was the moon goddess and counterpart of Baal. She was the goddess of love. Her priestesses were nothing but prostitutes. Immorality was a part of her worship.
Moloch worship: Moloch was the fire-god. The idol's image was of metal and hollow, with a large open mouth and hands stretched forward and upward. Children were placed on top of the hands so they would roll or slide through the open mouth into the fire that was burning inside.
Idol worship developed what was evil in man. It gave free reins to immorality and other lusts of the flesh. It fostered prostitution, fear and cruelty. When the Israelites joined the Canaanites in their idol worship, they lost all interest in the mission to which God called them. Idol worship destroyed the fear, and love of the Holy God.
Joshua was aware of the anger that threatened from the idol worshipping Canaanites who lived in the midst of Israel. The separation that God had established between His people and the ungodly must be maintained or Israel would cease to be God's people. He warned the people against the spirit of compromise. Shortly before his death, Joshua called a meeting of the people to get the issue decided. He urged the people to get the issue decided. He urged them to drive out all idol worship. He pleaded with them, "choose ye this day whom ye will serve." Joshua concludes with saying, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The people answer, "we will serve Jehovah." The people were ready always to make promises.
After the death of Joshua, God did not appoint a leader to take his place. The people had been given laws and officers provided by the laws. They were established in the land. They should now learn to govern themselves under the God-given laws. But again Israel failed. The failure was because of idol worship. Since they did not completely drive out the Canaanites, but associated with them and were inter-married with them, they were drawn into their idol worship. They lost the feeling of being God's chosen people and lost their sense of national unity. When attacked by enemies, the tribes did not stand together and, as a result, were defeated and robbed. Israel cried then unto the Lord and the Lord raised up judges to rule them and the land had rest.
Someone has called the Book of Judges the account of the Dark Ages of Israel. The people forsook God (Judges 2:13) and God forsook the people (Judges 2:23). Judges covers the period after the death of their great leader, Joshua, to the ascension of Saul to the throne of Israel. Israel was under the theocracy, ruled by God. There are fifteen judges and they are Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Barak, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli and Samuel. Abimelech was a petty ruler and was not called by God to judge. Another name for men or women who judged could be deliverers or saviours. There were three types of Judges. The one type would be the warrior-judge, as Gideon and Samson. The second type would be the priest-judge, as Eli, and the third type would be the prophet-judge, as Samuel. The chief judges were Deborah, Gideon, Samson and Samuel. We do not know how long these judges ruled, but it is believed to be three hundred and fifty years. These judges did not form dynasties as did the later kings. During the period of the judges, individuals were raised up by God to meet the particular crises without regard to dynastic succession. The judges were termed gifted rulers. Enabled by God to deliver His people from the oppressor, the judge occupied a place of influence during the remainder of his lifetime. No successor was indicated and future crises demanded the call and empowering of a new judge. During this time of the judges, God was nominal King over His people. In practice, however, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." There was no central government, tribes functioned alone or in concert with their neighbors. And thus, the people were opened to being mismanaged spiritually and could be a prey for the enemy within their country and without.
The Book of Judges gives a picture of seven failures, seven servitudes and seven deliverances. The Israelites intermarried with the heathens, worshipped at their shrines, and practiced their vices. Those who are prominent among the Judges are Deborah and her song of victory, Gideon with his mighty army of three hundred, as he put to ruin an army numbering in the thousands, and Samson with his unbelievable strength. All these judges did a mighty work in destroying the heathen altars, delivering Israel out of servitude and of restoring Israel back to God.
In connection with the Book of Judges, we should include the Book of Ruth. This delightful event gives us an idea of the domestic life of Israel at this time of anarchy. Samuel may have written this book, but little is known about where or when it was written. This book records the events during the rule of Gideon or Jephthah. Ruth was the great-grandmother of David. This book establishes the lineage of David, ancestor of Christ. It tells of the beginning of the Messianic family, within the Messianic nation into which over a thousand years later the Messiah was to be born.
Ruth was a Moabitess, descendants of Lot. They were heathen. God, in establishing the family which was to produce the Saviour, chose a beautiful heathen girl. God led her to Bethlehem and made her the bride of Boaz. This is God's Grace as He adopts the Gentiles into Christ's family. Through her first husband and Naomi, she learned of the true God. Boaz was the son of Rahab, the harlot from Jericho. Matthew 1:5 makes mention of this. So David's great-grandmother was a Moabitess and his great-grandfather was half Canaanite. This is found in the blood line of the Messiah.
A new day dawns when a mother asks God for a son. She promises to give him back to God. The mother's name is Hannah, and when He gives her a son, she calls him Samuel. When Samuel was five years old, his mother took him to the temple and he was the helper of Eli, the high priest. Eli was old and needed help. God gave Samuel a message one night that He would punish Eli for not disciplining his sons. God said that He would punish the sons also. Eli died later when he fell backwards and broke his neck. The news of the Ark of the Covenant, being taken by the Philistines, precipitated his fall. Samuel was called to be a prophet. With him begins a long list of prophets called by God from time to time to be His special witnesses. Samuel's work was to lead the people away from the idol worship and bring about a national confession of sin. This would bring to life again the consciousness of being God's chosen people and restore national unity. Samuel was helped by a group of young men who went around the country and, in music and song, appealed to the people to repent of their sins.
The work brought results. Hearts bowed before God in sorrow and confession. A longing for spiritual renewal grew up in all the tribes. Called by Samuel, a national gathering met at Mizpah. The people fasted and confessed their sins and God heard their prayers. The Philistines came up to punish the Israelites for coming together, but were defeated. The consciousness that Israel was God's people, called to do a special work, was revived.
Samuel continued the work for many years. He judged the tribes and all Israel knew that God had raised a prophet among them. Both he and Nathan were the two prophets, which ministered to the people prior to the coming of the monarchy.
This period ends with the people coming to Samuel and saying, "make us a king to judge us like all the nations... and the Lord said to Samuel... they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them." In the next article, we shall take up the crown. Thus, begins Israel's history of having a monarchy.
To be continued.................Dr. Jack E. Jacobsen
When All I Am
When all I am reveals only Him,
Then all I do will please Him, too.
Christ in you - and Christ in me,
The world His own Glory must see!
Without you I would surely fail,
For many a stormy sea we sail.
Christ in you - and Christ in me,
The world a whole new Life will see!
With eyes to see beyond the veil,
Together we can brave every gale.
You need me - and I need you,
The world His own Glory must see!
When all the Father planned comes into being,
All heaven and earth His praises shall sing.
Christ in you - and Christ in me,
The world His own Glory will see!
When all I am reveals only Him,
Then all I do will please me, too.
Christ in one - and Christ in all,
This work our Father will do!
........... Frances Shufflebarger
Son, Pick Up Your Bed
(Played in chords of E7, A7 and B7)
I heard a little voice say,
Son, pick-up your bed.
I heard a little voice say,
Son, pick-up your bed.
You know you're not doing so well,
If you haven't Christ as your head.
He woke me this morning,
Son, rise from the dead.
He woke me this morning,
Son, rise from the dead.
You haven't heard the good news,
Your old man is crucified I've said.
So, Arise and Shine now,
Son, your time has now come.
So, Arise and Shine now,
Son, your time has now come.
There's a lot of hurting people out there,
Show them that I am the one.