One For Israel
I Met Messiah,
One For Israel
The covenant concept is central of Scripture, establishing and defining God’s relationship with mankind in every *age of *history. The OT was established between God and the people of Israel after Freeing them from Egyptian slavery. Moses, leading them from captivity- served as mediator of this contract at Mount Sinai: (“Moses took the blood from the basins- splattered it over the people, declaring, “this blood confirms the covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these instructions.(Exodus 24:8, NLT)” God promised Israel would be his chosen people, and he would be their God: (“I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt(Exodus 6:7,)” God issued the Ten Commandments and laws in Leviticus to be obeyed- If they complied, he pledged prosperity and protection in the Promised Land). To address sins, God set up a system of “animal blood sacrifices.” That system lasted hundreds of years, but it was only temporary. Out of love, God sent his only Son, Jesus, into the world; This new covenant would resolve -the #fall- once and *for *all (Isaiah). For 3 years, Jesus taught throughout Israel about the kingdom of God and his -upcoming role- as #Messiah. To support his claim as Son of God, he performed many miracles, even raising people from the dead. By dying on the cross, Christ became #Lamb of God, the #ultimate #perfect #sacrifice, whose blood has the -power- to #redeem us #forever. Jesus freely #intercedes for us before God- We now -encounter God- ourselves; no longer needing a human to speak for us. Israel struggles to find closeness with God, but the gospel illustrates the covenant now through the power of Christ’s divine blood- sacrificial love- in -manifested- spirit through his *word. While God's grace frequently broke through in the OT, its #presence manifests in #spirit through the resurrected #living christ- The free gift of redemption in Christ is available to all who choose to #receive it. Israels restoration is in the-unity with christ #messiah- in the promise land- eternal #dwelling place.
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the promise of a Messiah is clearly given. These messianic prophecies were made hundreds, sometimes thousands of years before Jesus Christ was born, and clearly Jesus Christ is the only person who has ever walked this earth to fulfill them. In fact, from Genesis to Malachi, there are over 300 specific prophecies detailing the coming of this Anointed One. In addition to prophecies detailing His virgin birth, His birth in Bethlehem, His birth from the tribe of Judah, His lineage from King David, His sinless life, and His atoning work for the sins of His people, the death and resurrection of the Jewish Messiah was, likewise, well documented in the Hebrew prophetic Scriptures long before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred in history.
The official video of "Talking to Jesus" from the album, Old Church Basement, by Elevation Worship and Maverick City feat. Brandon Lake. Available everywhere now: https://elevationworship.lnk.to/OldCh...
John 7:38; “rivers of #living water will flow from within them.” The pineal(penuel,peniel) gland is located between our temples- (called *3rd eye). While the eyes perceive the physical world, the third eye sees the #true world—a #unified whole with an unyielding #connection to God. Pineal is a place of #meeting with God. Jacobs encounter with God at Peniel is very significant because it brought about a divine *shift in his life, thus, Peniel is a place of *divine shift. One of the oldest *visual depictions of Jacobs wrestling is in the illustrated manuscript the Vienna Genesis. Many #artists have #depicted the scene, considering it as a #paradigm of artistic #creation. In sculpture Jacob Wrestling with the Angel is the subject of a 1940 sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein on display at the Tate Britain. Jacob wrestling with the angel is described in Genesis (32:22–32; Hosea 12:3–5). The "angel" in question is referred to as "man" (אִישׁ) and "God" in Genesis, while Hosea references an "angel" (מַלְאָךְ). The account includes the renaming of Jacob as Israel (etymologized as "contends-with-God"). In the Genesis narrative, Jacob spent the night alone on a riverside during his journey back to Canaan. He encounters a "man" who proceeds to wrestle with him until daybreak. In the end, Jacob is given the name "#Israel" and #blessed, while the "man" refuses to give his own name. Jacob then names the -place- where they -wrestled- Penuel (פְּנוּאֵל "face of God" or "facing God"- The account contains several plays on Hebrew names—Peniel (or Penuel), Israel—as well as similarity to the #root of Jacob's name (which sounds like the Hebrew for "heel") and its compound. The limping of Jacob (Yaʿaqob ), may mirror the name of the #river, Jabbok (Yabbok יַבֹּק , sounds like "crooked" river), and Nahmanides (Deut. 2:10 of Jeshurun) gives the etymology "one who walks crookedly" for the name Jacob. The Hebrew text states that it is a "man" (אִישׁ, LXX ἄνθρωπος, Vulgate vir) with whom Jacob *wrestles, but later this —“man" is #identified with #God—- (Elohim) by Jacob. In #symbolism, pineal represents the true #temple of god- which dwells #within us when we open our *eyes to him. 🙏
In #Christ, God “creates in himself #one new man in place of the two.” Paul puts this new spiritual #reality and new spiritual #identity in the strongest of terms when he says, “for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). This does -not- mean that there are no more -cultural distinctions or practices- that distinguish members of -different ethnic- groups. What it does mean is that our -union- with Christ produces a -union- with “one another” that #transcends -Any- of our ‘other’ associations in this “fallen” world. As blood is thicker than water in our natural relations, the #Spirit is stronger than both in our Christ union. #Cosmic, #consummative #worldwide #peace is -entirely- dependent on Jesus’ death on the #cross. The -effects- of creaturely reconciliation are felt for all of eternity on account of His #saving #works. The *vertical reconciliation of fallen men to God is #foundational to the *horizontal reconciliation of man to man. The former necessarily accomplishes and secures the latter. Our union with Jesus in His death and resurrection reconciles us to God. And, since we are redeemed by the same Christ, united to the same Christ, and made the beneficiaries of the same benefits of union with the same Christ, we are thereby #united to one another in the #same #body. The disciples had grown up believing that when the Messiah came, He would conquer their enemies, subdue all other nations, and set up a kingdom that would make everything right in the world. But the disciples’ expectations were limited to an earthly understanding of what God’s kingdom really is. The other-worldly kingdom Jesus brought to the earth is a supernatural kingdom that does not receive its -marching orders- from any “worldly source” (Luke 17:21). It’s #powerfully at work in the world, through the lives, and in the hearts of all believers. The Prince of Peace rules and reigns in His kingdom and our peace on earth can be experienced with Him there. This #supernatural #peace is not a worldly brand of peace that ebbs and flows with circumstance. It’s a #perfect #peace powerful enough to serve against the agents and circumstances of ALL unrest. ☺️🌈🕊❤️
Elijah (Elias or Elia, Hebrew Eliyyahu), Hebrew prophet who ranks with Moses in #saving the religion of #Yahweh from being *corrupted by the nature -worship- of #Baal (idols). Elijah’s name means “Yahweh IS my God” The story of his #prophetic career in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reigns of Kings Ahab and Ahaziah (1Kings17–19, 2Kings1–2). Elijah claimed that there was no -#reality- except the #God of #Israel, stressing monotheism to the people with possibly unprecedented emphasis. The Israelite king Omri had *allied himself with the Phoenician *cities of the *coast, and his son Ahab was married to Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre and Sidon. Jezebel, with her Tyrian courtiers and a -large contingent- of -pagan- priests and prophets, #propagated her native religion in a “sanctuary” built for -Baal- in the royal city of Samaria. This meant that the Israelites -accepted- Baal as well “as” Yahweh, putting -Yahweh- on a “par” with a -nature-god- whose “supreme manifestations” were the “elements and biological fertility, celebrated often in sexual immorality.” Jezebel’s *policies- intensified the *gradual #contamination of the religion of #Yahweh by the Canaanite “religion of *Baal,” a -process made easier by the weakening- of the Israelites’ “faith in Yahweh.” Elijah was from Tishbe in Gilead. The narrative in (1Kings) relates how he suddenly appears during Ahab’s reign to proclaim a #drought in “punishment of the cult of Baal” that Jezebel was -promoting- in Israel at “Yahweh’s expense.” Later Elijah meets 450 prophets of Baal in a contest of strength on Mount Carmel to determine which deity is the true God of Israel. “Sacrifices” are placed on an altar to Baal and one to Yahweh. The pagan prophets’ “ecstatic appeals” to Baal to kindle the wood on his altar are #unsuccessful, but -Elijah’s prayers to Yahweh- are #answered by a fire on his altar. This outcome is taken as decisive by the Israelites, who slay the priests and prophets of Baal under #Elijah’s #direction. The drought thereupon ends with the “falling of rain” symbolizing #repentance and #redemption.X
Many Christians in the West are concerned that our secular societies are becoming more inhospitable to Christian faith and practice. We often feel persecuted. In no way do I want to minimize the headwinds we’re now facing in the countries that formerly constituted Christendom. But to get desperately needed perspective, we must listen to the voices of believers in parts of the world where the opposition is much more pervasive and often takes the form of violence. This is the situation for Christians in large swaths of Asia—East, South, and West.
They are indeed learning what the words of our Lord mean:
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:11–12, NIV)
Christians in the West seldom have to test these important words of Jesus in the way our brothers and sisters in Asia have. Chinese Christians in particular have had reason in recent years to rely on this promise of Jesus.
There are at least four things to learn from these verses.
1. ‘Blessed are you when people insult you.’
Not “Blessed are you if people insult you.” Every beatitude is a characteristic of a Christian. Every Christian must be poor in spirit, or you’re not a Christian; every Christian must hunger and thirst after righteousness, or you’re not a Christian. This is the last of the Beatitudes, which means Jesus assumes that if you’re a Christian, you will be persecuted. If you’re living consistently with Christianity, you will experience some kind of loss, some pushback, some opposition (see 2 Tim. 3:12 for confirmation of this interpretation: “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”).
2. We are only blessed if the persecution is ‘because of me [Jesus].’
Not “because of you.” Peter says something similar in 1 Peter 4:15: “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.” The word translated “meddler” is an amazing Greek word. It means to be a busybody or to be tactless. What Peter and Jesus are saying is, if you’re talking about your Christian faith in a feckless way, a tactless way, an abrasive way, an insensitive way, a culturally inappropriate way, and people oppose you, don’t say, “I am being persecuted for Jesus’s sake!” No, you are being persecuted for yoursake. If you’re being obnoxious, the promise of blessedness doesn’t hold.
3. Persecution because of Jesus results in praise for the Father.
Here is one way to determine whether you’re being persecuted for Jesus’s sake or for your own sake:
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:13–16, NIV)
Some people will look at your life and faith and persecute you; others will look at that same life and will “praise your Father in heaven.” Some non-Christians will respond with hostility, while others will be attracted by your life and persuaded by your testimony.
I propose that this is a great way to test ourselves. If we are only persecuted and few or no people are finding faith or being attracted to Jesus through us, then we’re likely being persecuted for our tactlessness.
If we are never persecuted, then we’re likely compromising or being too quiet about our faith. But if both of those things are happening—if you are persecuted and your testimony is bearing fruit—you’re in a sweet spot. Speaking the truth without love will only bring opposition; being loving without insisting on the truth is cowardice. One of the most worrisome things about the church in the West is that we are not seeing much persecution or attraction, and surely that is an indictment.
4. We can experience the promise of blessedness through meditating on Jesus.
Finally, how do we get the blessedness that Jesus says comes if you’re persecuted for his sake?
That blessedness is a fascinating promise. It means the Holy Spirit will rest on you in a special way. It means his character will come into your life and be created, and it will shape you in a special way. It likely also means that you will see some people attracted to Jesus because of, not in spite of, the persecution.
But I suggest you not be passive, that you actively go in prayer to God during times of persecution to seek the joy, love, and courage you need. One way to do that is to meditate on Jesus in the following way.
If we are only persecuted and few or no people are finding faith or being attracted to Jesus through us, then we’re likely being persecuted for our tactlessness.
tells us that Jesus “emptied himself” of his glory. The King James Version translates these verses to say that Jesus, even though he was equal with the Father, “made himself of no reputation.” He had glory, and he had honor. He had the name, but he became rejected. He was shamed, humiliated—voluntarily. Crucifixion was not only a way to execute people. It was intentionally the most humiliating and ignominious death the Romans could come up with. Death on a cross was a dishonorable death. That means Jesus died in absolute shame so that you and I will not die in shame. We are going to have a name that lasts forever. Our names are written in heaven, inscribed in God’s book. We are going to live with honor and glory forever because Jesus experienced shame and humiliation.
Now if you take a little hit to your reputation, if you get persecuted a little bit, knowing what Jesus did for you, can you bear that shame, knowing that he took the ultimate shame so that you could have the ultimate honor? Yes—if you meditate on Jesus’s humiliation, the blessedness that comes will help you to endure your own humiliation.
This is a sobering message. But look—it ends in joy. “Rejoice and be glad,” Jesus says. Why? “Because great is your reward in heaven.” Look at that hope and know you have the name that will never perish. Know you have an honor and a glory that will never fade. There’s a note of this joy that runs throughout the testimonies and reflections in Faith in the Wilderness: Words of Exhortation from the Chinese Church.
In early 2020, I witnessed this joy firsthand as thousands of Chinese house church Christians met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While they gathered to encourage one another with gospel hope in the face of growing persecution, cases of COVID-19 broke out across their cities back home. They returned to China not in fear but with bold hope, knowing their home abides in the heavenly city, which cannot be destroyed.
Let us learn from the witness of our Chinese brothers and sisters so we can stand fast all the better as we face trials wherever we live.
Everyone is in need of redemption. Our natural condition was characterized by guilt: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christ’s redemption has freed us from guilt, being “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).