Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Bread and the Wine are Better Than the Manna and the Water

This image shows a red wine glass.

Image via Wikipedia

The manna from heaven and the water from the rock are both Old Testament shadows of Christ. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ reveals Himself to be edible, saying that the bread symbolized His body and the wine His blood.

So, why is there a change in the images of Christ from the OT to the NT?

The manna was provided by God straight from heaven. Likewise, the water came out of the rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness. Both were God’s provision for the Israelites and shadows of Christ.

But, do you know how much better the bread and the wine are? Bread does not start out as bread, now does wine start out as wine. Bread and wine must go through a process to become what they are.

The manna started out as manna and the water started out as water. But, bread starts out as wheat and goes through a process to become bread. In the same way, wine starts out as grapes and goes through a process to become wine.

Do you know that Jesus had to go through a process? As God, He had to put on humanity, live a sinless human life, die on the cross, be resurrected, and ascend to the very throne of God, taking His humanity with Him. Now, the One who sits on the throne is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. Like the bread and the wine, which symbolize the way that we are to partake of Him, our God is a processed God.

Through this process, we are now able to partake of His divine nature. Also, by eating and drinking of Him by the Spirit, we are going through a process to be like Him.

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Is the Mustard Tree a Bad Thing?

Brown Mustard Seeds

Image by FotoosVanRobin via Flickr

[31] He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; [32] and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” – [Mat 13:31-32 NASB]

This parable comes in a line of negative parables about the kingdom of heaven. So I was researching online about the mustard tree, and it seems that there really isn’t a mustard tree, but more of a mustard bush. So it seems that the mustard plant growing to the size of a tree is something unnatural. God did not create it to be a tree, but a bush. A bush should never be a tree. Not only that but the tree is a home to the birds of the air.

[3] And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; [4] and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. – [Mat 13:3-4 NASB]

[19] “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. – [Mat 13:19 NASB]

[2] in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. – [Eph 2:2 NASB]


It seems that this little seed has grown into a great haven for Satan.

Any thoughts on what the mustard seed might represent? It seems to be some small, seemingly insignificant addition to the kingdom that makes a place for Satan.


How to Imitate Christ

[1] Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. – [1Cr 11:1 NASB]

[1] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; – [Eph 5:1 NASB]

There is a famous book called “The Imitation of Christ”. Many people have tried to imitate Christ and they have found it impossible. Sure, you might be able to do good for days, months, or even years, but eventually you will fail. Why is it impossible? He lived a perfect life. How can we possibly imitate someone who lived a perfect life?

The problem is that we view the life of Jesus of Nazareth through a religious lens. We try to imitate His actions, instead of learning how He did the things that He did. The life in Christ is altogether anti-religious. If you attempt to combine Christ with religion, your religion will be torn apart. There is no power in religious acts, but there is power in living by the indwelling Christ.

Paul said to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Then in Ephesians, he wrote to imitate God. If Paul was imitating Christ, then to imitate Paul would mean to imitate Christ. So, lets look at what it means to imitate Christ.

[19] Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. – [Jhn 5:19 NASB]

[30] “I and the Father are one.” – [Jhn 10:30 NASB]

Jesus of Nazareth lived by the life of the Father.

[20] “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. – [Gal 2:20 NASB]

In Galatians, we see that Paul really did live by the life of Christ.

[56] “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. [57] “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. – [Jhn 6:56-57 NASB]

What the Father was to Jesus, so the risen Christ has become to us. By eating and drinking Christ we are receiving His Life into our being and He is saturating us with Himself. This is what it means to imitate Christ: To live by Life of the God who indwells us.

Continuing on in Christ

Landscape near the village of Kera (Crete, Greece)

Image via Wikipedia

If we are to mature in the Lord, there are three stages that we must go through. These three are the same ones that Israel went through. Each of these stages is a recognition of an aspect of Christ and an experience of Him in a new way. Each step is necessary for us to grow into the New Man. Also, each step is taken by faith, just as Israel did in its journey.

 

Christ as Our Slain Lamb

Christ as our Slain Lamb is our initial step. When we recognize that He is the Lamb slain for the sins of the world, we put our faith in Him. This is the means by which we enter into Christ. Since, we have entered into Christ by faith, we are also included in His death and resurrection. Too many have seen this simply as an objective truth, but it must be a subjective experience if we are to be transformed into the Image of God through Christ. We can only experience it if, by faith, we take His death and resurrection as our own.

 

Christ as Our Manna and Living Water

Once we have this new life in Christ, we must learn to eat and drink of Christ. If we do not eat and drink Him, we cannot grow in Him. A dear brother in Christ, Michael has written a great blog on eating Christ here: Spiritual Starvation and the Manna that’s Already There. I highly suggest reading it. We don’t literally eat and drink Christ, since God is Spirit, we must eat and drink Him spiritually. First, we must recognize that our food and drink is not the true food and drink. Christ is the reality of these things. Then, we eat and drink Him by faith. We must learn how to do this through our constant communion with Him. This is how we grow in Christ. As we eat and drink Him, His Life is dispensed into us and He saturates us, nourishes us, and is our pleasure.

 

Christ as Our Promised Land

Christ as our Lamb, our Food, and our Drink are just partial pictures of Christ. There is no picture in the Old Testament that is as complete a picture of Christ as the Promised Land. As we are growing in Christ by eating and drinking Him, we must recognize that He is our Promised Land, God’s provision for our every need. He is the air we breathe, our milk and honey, the very land we walk on, and even our hills and valleys. He is everything to us. In Him, we live and move and have our being. Whatever we need, we already have it in Christ.

 

Just as each tribe of Israel was given a portion of Christ, so we have been given portions of Christ. We have the stewardship of the mystery of Christ, which is God in us. As stewards, we share our portions of Christ with each other, dispensing His Life into each other through the Spirit. Through this dispensing, the Body is being built up into the fullness of Christ, until we are His express Image.

 

Lastly, just as Israel had an enemy in the Promised Land, so we have an enemy that wishes to keep God from attaining His eternal desire. Since, we each have a portion of Christ, together we must put on the Armor of God, which is Christ Himself. When I lack faith, a brother or sister in Christ, will have faith to give me. When someone feels unrighteous, I can remind them that Christ is our Righteousness. The war must be fought in the Body, for the Armor of God goes on the New Man, who is the corporate Christ.

 

Having died and been resurrected with Christ, then eating and drinking our Lord, let us press on to the Promised Land, where Christ is all and in all.

Are Your Windows Open Towards New Jerusalem?

Girl reading a Letter at an Open Window (fragment)

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[10] Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. – [Dan 6:10 NASB]


Daniel had his windows open toward Jerusalem, because the return to Jerusalem was God’s desire for His People in exile. This is why God kept Daniel alive in the lion’s den: So that Daniel could continue praying according to God’s will. Daniel was faithful in praying for God’s eternal purpose, in as much as he understood it.

Man’s prayer is just to pave the way for God’s move to go on. – Witness Lee

[2] And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. – [Rev 21:2 NASB]

At the end of Revelation, the ultimate desire of God is revealed: New Jerusalem. This isn’t a physical city but a spiritual city. It is the mingling of God and man. I am not saying to open your window when you pray, but that God’s desire for this Great City should always guide your prayers. God is waiting for His People to join with Him through prayer. He will delay the accomplishment of His will until His People pray. He has revealed to us His desire for the Bride City so that we may prayer for it to be prepared.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

[1] The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, – [Rev 1:1 NASB]

Today, I have a burden for you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. This burden is in regards to the book of Revelation. The problem is this: Many view Revelation as either divisive or unknowable. Neither of these is true. The problem comes from our perspectives of this book.

Divisive?

This book is by no means divisive. The division is because we are not reading the book through the lens of Christ. This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ! In it, He is being unveiled to the world and the spiritual powers. So is this book divisive? No. The problem lies in how we read the book. It is not merely end-times prophecy, but the method by which God will unveil His wonderful Son to the entire universe.

Unknowable?

This book is full of signs and symbols, but it is a book meant to be understandable. The reason that we don’t understand it is that we do not understand the rest of Scripture. None of the symbols in Revelation are new. This is not a new book, but a conclusion to the rest of them. You must read this book with God’s ultimate thought in mind, His eternal purpose. This book is how He is attaining His desire, that Christ might be all and in all.

In addition, do not forget that this book, like all of Scripture, is a spiritual book. You will learn very little by simply reading its letters. You must exercise your spirit, which is indwelt by the Spirit of God, in order to understand its writings. Read it over and over with prayer, asking God to reveal its meaning to you. Read the interpretations of others’ and discern which fit well with the rest of Scripture and the eternal purpose of God.

So, I hope this post will encourage any who read it, not to give up on the book of Revelation. We need to see and understand this revelation of Jesus Christ. With every day that passes, the coming of our Lord grows ever closer. Let us read this book, understanding the message that our Father has given us, and preparing ourselves for the return of our Bridegroom.

From Genesis 3 to Revelation 12: God’s Eternal Purpose

[14] The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; [15] And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” [16] To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” [17] Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. [18] “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; [19] By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” – [Gen 3:14-19 NASB]

[1] A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; [2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. [3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. [4] And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [5] And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. [6] Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. [7] And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, [8] and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [10] Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. [11] “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. [12] “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” [13] And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. – [Rev 12:1-13 NASB]


The Woman

This woman is the one foretold of in Genesis. The woman is the entire Church. She is the beautiful Bride of Christ, awaiting His return. The sun, moon, and stars symbolize the universality of this Woman.

 

The Man Child

The child that comes from the woman, is not only a male child, but a Man Child. This is the Seed of the woman from Genesis that is to bruise Satan. This is the beginning of the New Man. The believers who are more mature in Christ, than the others. They are more mature because they have received more of Christ. Christ has been thoroughly dispensed into them. You may say, “But I thought the Seed of the woman is Christ”. You would also be right, since Christ is the head of the New Man. This is God’s purpose: That we would be His expression. Note that a Woman does not conceive on Her own. The Life of the Bridegroom has been dispensed into the Woman, and She has given birth to this Man Child. He is part of the Woman, and has the Life of the Bridegroom.

 

The Great Red Dragon

Much time has passed since the garden and the Serpent has become a Great Red Dragon. How has this happened? In Genesis, it was said that the serpent would eat dust. Man is made of dust. Satan seeks to devour people. He has devoured many and has grown quite large and strong. This is also why the Dragon is red: From the blood of his victims.

 

The Rapture

The rapture of the Man Child is described as He is called up to heaven, directly to the throne of God. They will be taken by Christ, who has come secretly in a cloud. He has come like a thief in the night. A thief comes secretly and quietly. You will note that this rapture differs from that of the rest of the Woman, since they are to meet Christ in the air. Why won’t all of the believers be caught up together? Some are ripe and some aren’t. The ripe ones will be caught up so that they won’t be over ripe and the unripe ones must wait until they have ripened.

 

The War

What is the purpose of this rapture? It is not to escape The Great Tribulation. The angels are awaiting the authority of Christ, through this Man Child, to cast the Accuser out of heaven. Thus the Man Child is called up to the throne in order to exercise the dominion given in Genesis, and regained by Christ on the cross. God has chosen to use His People to pass judgment on Satan, and Michael and the angels will carry out that judgment. Remember that the angels are to be under our authority.

 

The Persecution of the Rest of the Woman’s Children

The rest of the believers who were not prepared for the Lord, must be ripened. They will incur the wrath of the Dragon, was has been cast down by the Man Child. Through this persecution they will be ripened and ready to meet Christ when He appears in glory on the cloud.

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