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This is My Beloved Son, Listen to Him!

 We must see that the gift of salvation is only unto the fullness of Christ, the everlasting intent of the eternal Purpose in the Heart of God for which we are saved. We are saved in, for, by, and to the Purpose of God, Jesus Christ Himself. And that we, as His people, may see by the vision of His incomparable brilliance; Christ Is the inexhaustible Glory of God. – Kat Huff, Christ Is

Before you read my blog post, read Kat Huff‘s blog post, Christ Is, at Harvest of Pearls. Of all the words, that have been used to express the beauty and glory of Christ, I think that her blog post has the most depth and is the most beautiful.

when we hear, what do we do then by?

when we hear, what do we do then by? by Bader AL Bassam

Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified. Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!” All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone. – [Mar 9:2-8 NASB]

Peter wanted to make three tabernacles, one for Jesus, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. In doing this, Peter was setting Moses and Elijah up as equals of Jesus. The Father would never accept this. The Father declares, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”. Do not listen to Moses and Elijah, as if they are something, in themselves. Only listen to the Son. After the voice of the Father, Moses and Elijah were gone, thus emphasizing that the Father only desires the Son. Elijah and Moses are gone, now that the Son has come. Moses and Elijah signify the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament. Indeed, the Law and the Prophets sum up the Old Testament. So what does this mean for the Old Testament? Do we throw it away? By no means! Now that we have the Son, we must listen to Him. When we read the Old Testament, we are to listen to the Son, the Lord Jesus, the Christ who became the life-giving Spirit and now dwells in us. Now we see the real Moses and the real Elijah, Jesus Christ. When we read the Law and the Prophets, the Spirit just opens our eyes to see Jesus Christ.

Many of Jesus’ miracles were acts of healing of the blind, deaf, dumb, and lame. We all need to be healed of our blindness, deafness, dumbness, and lameness. We don’t need an outward healing, so much as an inward healing. We need to see Christ and our high position in Him. We need to hear Christ, and know His desire. We need to speak forth Christ, so that we may share the Christ in us. We need to walk Christ, so that others enjoy Christ in us.

We are the Ekklesia of God! We gather together to listen to the Son and determine His thought, by the Spirit. He has given us Himself as the eternal Life of the triune God, so that we may share in the love and fellowship of God. Christ is our Healing, so that we may listen to Him. In every situation, we may turn to Him in our Spirit, to determine His desire.

Christ is the Father’s provision for our every need, dear saints, so that we may be filled up with Him.

And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. – [Zec 14:9 NASB]

All things are to be summed up in Christ. All things will be tested by fire and only that which is Christ will remain; everything else will be consumed, so that Christ is all and in all.

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Faith Without Works is Dead, So We Have to Do More…Right?

And yet the best is yet to come. For as the saints assemble, each telling about their experience with the risen Lord, Christ himself appears in their midst! And together, as one body, they encounter Christ. – Joshua Lawson

Does your heart burn within you for the Lord Jesus? If it does, then you will enjoy Joshua Lawson‘s blog post, at In Search of the City, called The Fellowship of the Burning Heart. We all need to enjoy this fellowship with each other and our Lord. It’s His desire to give us such a hungry, burning heart and to satisfy us with Himself.

DSCN3909_1_72 - Plum Tree With Fruit on it.

DSCN3909_1_72 – Plum Tree With Fruit on it. (Photo credit: bterrycompton)

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. – [Jam 2:26 NASB]

This verse from James’ letter is commonly used to spur saints on to do more works. Unfortunately, this lays a burden on saints and takes what James was saying out of context.

James’ exhortation to works is actually in the context of the gathering of the saints; in the context of the ekklesia.

The saints were treating each other in an evil way. Instead of showing each other love and mercy, in Christ, they were showing each other partiality and judgement.

Everyone has works. The question really is: What kind of works are you doing?

James was writing to saints that claimed to have faith in Christ, but treated each other in an evil, worldly, manner. Such a faith, resulting in evil works, is dead.

A living faith in Christ, results in works of love; in the fruit of the Spirit.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – [Gal 5:19-25 NASB]

Do you see that it is not about doing more works, but a change in works, because of the exchange of our natural life for the eternal Life, through faith in Christ?

Walk by the Spirit, dear brothers and sisters, and you will express Christ.

The Mystery of Godliness

Mystery

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. – [1Ti 3:16 NASB]

Great is the mystery of godliness!

Do you see what is so great about it?

  • He was revealed in the flesh.
  • He was vindicated in the Spirit.
  • He was seen by angels.
  • He was proclaimed among the nations.
  • He was believed on in the world.
  • He was taken up in glory.

Godliness is a Person. Godliness is Christ. What a glorious Christ!

But, godliness is not just the individual Jesus Christ, but the corporate Christ. We can say that Jesus was revealed in the flesh, He was vindicated in the Spirit, He was seen by angels, and He was taken up in glory. But, we cannot say that He was proclaimed among the nations, nor was He believed on in the world.

Paul was not talking about Jesus of Nazareth. He was talking about the New Man, with Christ as the Head of His Body, the Church.

  • Christ was revealed in our flesh.
  • Christ was vindicated in our Spirit.
  • Christ was seen by angels in us.
  • Christ was proclaimed among the nations through us.
  • Christ was believed on in the world by us.
  • Christ was taken up in glory in us.

The mystery of godliness is Christ in us as the Spirit, saturating us, and conforming us into the image of Christ. A godly person is a person who is being conformed to the image Christ and expressing Him in all that he or she does. But, the fullness of godliness on shines in and through the New Man. May Christ be all and in all.

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The Dark Night of the Church Age

the "Morning Star"

[19] So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. – [2Pe 1:19 NASB]

If we look back at the history of the Church, we will see that we have been going through the night. This is why the churches are lampstands. You don’t need a lamp during the day, but you need a lamp very much during the night!

While Jesus Christ was here, it was still day. Christ is our Sun. He is the Light of the world.

The Church is the Moon. The Moon has no light of its own, but it reflects the Sun.

Just as the Moon comes out when the Sun is gone, so the evening of the Church began when Christ ascended. Scripture shows us that there was great light for the Church, even right after Christ ascended. Unfortunately, Scripture and history also show us that the Church began to decay. Eventually, the Church illegitimately married the world system under Emperor Constantine. What a dark night it was for the Church! This historical period is even called the Dark Ages.

There were a few Stars that shined during this period. They gave off light when the Moon was so dimly lit. You can read about many of these faithful witness of Christ in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. They shined brightly in the dark night of the Church Age, but they will shine even more brightly in the age to come.

With Martin Luther, the Moon began to brighten. Since then, many great truths have been recovered. Even greater still, many are gaining a great vision of Christ. The eternal purpose of God has been regained in the sight of the Church, and it has been put into the hearts of many to see it fulfilled. Christ has begun to shine as the Morning Star. Soon the Morning Star will rise into full view. Then we will see the Sun, shining for all to see.

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The Seeds of God’s Eternal Purpose in 7 Days: Day 0

No Darkness

This will be a series of blog posts on God’s eternal purpose in the seven days described in Genesis 1 and 2.

In this introductory post, we will look at Genesis 1:1-2. Before we actually get into the days, I want to present a view of these two verses that will preface what we will see happening in the seven days.

[1] In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [2] The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. – [Gen 1:1-2 NASB]

The word “was”, in verse 2, can also mean “became” and I believe this to be the proper translation. There is sufficient evidence in Scripture to show that God did not create the universe in the way that we see it in verse 2. Let’s take a look at some of that evidence.

God did not create the earth as formless and void, nor did He create it in darkness and covered with water.

[18] For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. – [Isa 45:18 NASB]

“Waste place” in Isa 45:18 is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “formless”.

[11] But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness. – [Isa 34:11 NASB]

“Desolation” in Isa 34:11 is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “formless”. “Emptiness” is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “void”.

[23] I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. – [Jer 4:23 NASB]

Jer 4:23 bears to most striking resemblance to Gen 1:2. The earth is both formless and void and the heavens are in darkness.

Isa 34:11 and Jer 4:23, in context, both describe the world under God’s judgment. Also, in Isa 45:18, we can see that God did not create the earth the way that we see it in Gen 1:2.

Further evidence that the world is under judgment in Gen 1:2 is that the earth is under water. This resembles the earth under the judgment of the great flood, during which, Noah and his family were saved in the ark. But, lets take a look at one more thing that is wrong with the picture in Gen 1:2.

God dwells in light, not darkness.

[15] which He will bring about at the proper time–He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, [16] who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. – [1Ti 6:15-16 NASB]

Honestly, I’m not sure how I ever missed this. I just assumed God lived in darkness before the creation. But, according to Paul in 1 Ti 6, God dwells in unapproachable light. Indeed, in Revelation 22:5, it states that God will be our Light. Surely, if the consummation of God’s eternal purpose is that all things should dwell in His Light, He would not create a world in darkness.

So what happened?

The angels were present when God created the heavens and the earth.

[4] “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, [5] Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? [6] “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, [7] When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? – [Job 38:4-7 NASB]

It seems likely that, during this unknown period of time between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, Lucifer rebelled and God passed judgment on the heavens and the earth because of his rebellion.

Creation happened in Gen 1:1, the creation is under judgment in Gen 1:2, and what we see in the following seven days is the regeneration of a fallen heavens and earth by the Spirit.

The Spirit was brooding.

Above, in Gen 1:1, it states that the Spirit was moving. This word “moving”, may also mean “brooding”. He was brooding over the problem of this creation under judgment. I think both meanings, “moving” and “brooding” are appropriate.

Don’t you know that the Spirit brooded and moved over you?

We were a fallen people under judgment, but the Spirit came to regenerate us and make us a New Creation! This is what we will see in the seven days.

These seven days are about God’s eternal purpose in and through Christ to attain His desire.

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We are Designed to Be a Divine Glove

A PVC-Glove

[26] Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – [Gen 1:26 NASB]

A glove is made in the image of a hand, and according to its likeness. We were designed to be a Glove for God. God wants to get into us and fill us with Himself. The glove is the expression of the hand and we are to be the expression of God. The Glove is the Corporate Man and the Hand is the Triune God.

If we would be filled with God, for His full expression, His authority would be exercised.

Immediately, after God’s decision to make man in Their image, They state that men are to rule.

God’s authority always comes from His expression. If we are not expressing God, we cannot have His authority. Likewise, we must first be like a Glove, filled with God as our Hand. Then, He can exercise His authority through us.

What do you have to do to be a part of the Glove? Nothing. You were made to be a part of this Glove. You just need to cooperate with the Spirit, who dwells in your spirit, if you are in Christ. Let Him spread, renewing your mind with Himself, until Christ returns. Then, we will have new bodies and the consummation of God’s eternal desire.

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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.

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.

Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10?

1I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; 2and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; 3and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. 4When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” 5Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, 6and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer, 7but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:1-7 NASB)

While listening to Witness Lee’s Life Study of Revelation, he mentioned that Christ would come secretly in a cloud before His coming in glory on a cloud. Rather than wait until Witness Lee got to the full explanation of these verses, I thought that I would take a look at this strong angel who comes in a cloud. While examining what Scripture says about this angel, I do have to admit it seems likes it is Christ.

Coming down out of heaven

We know that Christ will come down from heaven when He returns, since we know that He has ascended there for a time.

Clothed with a cloud

When I read this, the image that flashed into my mind, was that of God leading the Israelites through the wilderness. In Scripture, no one else is ever clothed in a cloud, but God.

The rainbow was upon his head

The rainbow was given by God as a covenant to all flesh on the earth, that there would never again be a flood to destroy the earth. The rainbow seems to indicate that the angel is here for judgment, but will not forget the covenant that was given. Interestingly, the rainbow is God’s bow, another indication that this angel is God.

13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13 NASB)

His face was like the sun

This reminds me of the shining of Moses’ face after he had been in the presence of God. Also, we know that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need for the sun, because God will be our light. Next, Christ is our Morning Star, but once the Morning Star has fully risen it is the Sun.

His feet like pillars of fire

As I move through the appearance of this angel it seems more and more like it is the One, who Ezekiel saw sitting on the throne.

26Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. 27Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. 28As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:26-28 NASB)

He had in his hand a little book which was open

This may be the book from Revelation 5 that could only be opened by the Lamb. At this point the Lamb has already opened all of the seals, and thus the book is open.

He cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars

How wonderful this is: The Lamb who opened the book is also a Lion!

5and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” 6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:5-7)

Swore by Him who lives forever and ever

Who has the authority to swear by God, but God Himself?

34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. (Matthew 5:34-35 NASB)

There will be delay no longer…then the mystery of God is finished

The oath of the angel is about the mystery of God. This is a reference to the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. The mystery of God is Christ (Colossians 2:2) and the mystery of God is also Christ in us (Colossians 1:26-27). God’s eternal purpose to have an expression of Himself in Christ, through His Body. Christ is all and in all.

After examining all of these symbols attributed to this angel, I have to agree with Witness Lee that it is, indeed, Jesus Christ. If the use of the term “angel”, is difficult for you to attribute to Christ, then it may be helpful for you to understand that the word angel means a messenger. It does not have to be an angelic being, as we know that Christ is much higher than all angelic beings. All of this fits well with the main point of Revelation: The revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship

Jesus in the Word

Image via Wikipedia

 

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13 NASB)


What does it mean to make disciples? What does it mean to be a minister? What is the stewardship of the mystery?

In order to understand these things, we must understand God’s desire and how He is fulfilling that desire. God’s desire is to have an expression of Himself and to fill all things with that expression. Thus, all things will be filled with Christ, through His Spirit. This Christ, that is to fill all things, is the mystery of God and the Church is the mystery of Christ.

The Church is the beginning of this filling of all things with Christ. Through the Church, the entire creation will be an expression of God. God is filling the Church with Christ, by dispensing His Wealth and His Life into the Church. As the receivers of the Life of God, in Christ, we are stewards of Christ. As Christ has been dispensed in us, we also, dispense Christ into each other.

As containers of God, we must be emptied of self and clear. Without being emptied of ourselves, we cannot be filled with God. Thus, our old self was objectively placed on the cross with Christ and we subjectively experience that by faith. Next, we are clear containers because nothing of ourselves should be seen. When we are seen, only our contents should be seen. This is why New Jerusalem, in Revelation, is clear gold. The gold is that which is made of God and it is clear because our selves have died. With ourselves dead, God who is the contents of the Great City, is displayed for all to see.

The dispensing of Christ is what it means to be a minister. In order to minister to someone we must be living in Christ, learning Him, and experiencing Him. Ministering is not merely done with words and teaching, it is done by imparting something of Christ to someone. You cannot impart something of Christ to someone, if Christ is not being dispensed into you. Thus, as Christ is dispensed into us, we dispense Christ into each other.

Lastly, this is also what it means to make disciples. We are not making disciples of ourselves, but of Christ. If you are ministering to someone you are making a disciple. As you impart your portion of Christ into a person by the Spirit, that person is being filled Christ. Since, that person has received something of Christ from you, he or she will share it with someone else. So, making disciples is done by the dispensing of Christ, from your spirit to another person’s spirit, through the Holy Spirit.

 

May we all work so that the desire of God is obtained: The fullness of Christ displayed for all to see.

 

God’s Eternal Purpose by Witness Lee

SUBJECT: ULTIMATE MANIFESTATION-GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE
METER: 6.5.6.5.D.
AUTHOR: Witness Lee
COMPOSER: M. Koch, from Geistliche Lieder

Audio

 

1   God’s eternal purpose
      Is to join with man,
    Causing man, His vessel,
      To be born again,
    His own life imparting,
      Filling to the brim;
    Man may thus express Him,
      And be one with Him.
2   God in His own image
      Hath created man,
    That he may be able
      To fulfill His plan;
    That he may receive Him
      As the tree of life
    To become His fulness
      As to man the wife.
3   In His life’s rich flowing
      Man will be transformed
    Into precious substance
      And to Him conformed.
    Thus will man be builded
      As His counterpart,
    Thus to be His dwelling,
      Satisfy His heart.
4   Tis the holy city,
      New Jerusalem;
    With His saints God mingles,
      Makes His home with them.
    He becomes their content,
      His expression they;
    They shall share His glory,
      One with Him for aye.
5   He’s the very center,
      Ruling on the throne;
    By His life the power,
      Saints are kept in one.
    By His light of glory,
      They are kept in light,
    Harmony enjoying
      In divine delight.
6   He’s their living water,
      And their food supply;
    All their thirst and hunger
      He doth satisfy.
    He’s for them the temple,
      In Himself they live,
    In His constant presence
      Worship ever give.

 

Personal, Corporate, or Both?

Living Stones

Image by Andesine via Flickr

This blog post is a clarification of some tweets that I made. To be honest, these are some thoughts that I haven’t completely worked out in my mind, but I will do my best to explain them. Thus, you may take the word “clarification” lightly :). This isn’t an argument for my thoughts (I don’t like arguing), just a discussion.

I will begin with the definitions of the words, personal and corporate, that I have in my mind. I got these definitions from the Google Dictionary:

Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else

Corporate – Of or shared by all the members of a group

1st Tweet

Jesus Christ is not a personal Savior, but a corporate Savior.

I say, “Not saved for themselves but for the glory of Christ the Son.” It’s not about us at all — it’s all about Him! – Whitney McKendree Moore (@WhitneyMcKMoore)

First, I am not saying that God is impersonal, nor am I denying that we are saved as individuals. So what am I saying? I am saying that Jesus Christ does not save anyone for their own sake, but for Himself and His Body. It is obvious that we come into the Body as individuals, considering that a corporate body is made up of individuals. Truly, we are stones, made alive by God, to be put together into one Temple. A Building has individual stones, but they do not have any personal experience that does not affect the Building.

My next point is that salvation does not occur simply between you and Christ. How would anyone hear of Christ unless someone has already been sent to share Him? You may even have learned the good news from a Christian who is long dead, but a member of the Body none the less. Indeed, the Body of Christ shared the Head to you, who was revealed to you through the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit.

Third, we always exist in some form of corporate body. We were born in Adam, and thus have received His sin nature. Through the death and resurrection, we are reborn, by the Spirit, in Christ. Thus, in order to be saved you had to be included corporately in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dear Lord. Also, Christ died once for all, not over and over again for each person. We don’t have a separate and distinct experience of His death and resurrection, but share in the same act that was performed once for all.

Another thought that I have is if we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, were we not already His Nation before we considered ourselves a part of it? We were already chosen in Christ, and when He was revealed to us we learned of our true identity. The identity that was hidden in Him. We no longer think that we are poor peasants, but we see that we are kings, destined to reign with Christ.

2nd Tweet

Is anything really personal? Or is personal a delusion?

We like things to be personal. We think that life is like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. We want to think that stuff is ours and we have our own little bubbles to walk around. It is an awful thing if someone enters your bubble. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that does not affect others. Everything that we do affects others. Even if you are absent, hidden away in the wilderness, there are people who will never hear your knowledge, be encouraged by your advice, or hurt by your cruelty. All of your experiences have included someone or something else. The truth is that nothing is really personal, nothing really belongs to us. All is given to us by our God, for the good of all. If you keep what He has given to you, others are hurt and if you give what He has given to you, others benefit.

Why Have I Chosen to Meet Organically in Christ?

Bexley_Christ_Church

Image via Wikipedia

Just a note, I will be discussing my ideas of organic church, which may not represent every person who meets organically.

The Supremacy of Christ

First of all, the supremacy of Christ over all things is at the very core of the organic gathering. If Christ is not supreme, then our gatherings are a waste of time. Christ must have supremacy in all things. If Christ is to be supreme, then we must submit to Him and His desires. When we meet organically, we lay down our own vision of what “church” is like, to see what Christ wants to do through us.

Christ is Zealous for God’s House

It would be pointless to meet under the supremacy of Christ, if He didn’t care about our gatherings. But, that is not the case! He wants to lead us into all righteousness and glory. Indeed, He is our Righteousness and Glory! No man will ever care about the Church as Christ does. We are the Bride, and He is our Bridegroom. He is consumed with love and passion for us.

Christ is Head

But, what does it matter that Christ is supreme and zealous for us, if He is not Head over us? We must realize that we are one Body, under His Headship. Only the Head is capable of leading the Body. Every believer is simply a body part. If one person leads, it is like a finger leading the body. If a group of people lead the body, then it is like a hand leading the body. Christ is more than capable of leading His Body through anything and everything.

All are Equal in Christ, the Corporate Man

Now that you have seen that Christ is supreme, that He is zealous for God’s House, and Head over the Body, let’s look at this Body. Is one part of the Body, greater than another? Never! All need to participate in the gathering of the Body. Every single body part is needed. Can a mouth speak, without the tongue and the neck and the lungs? Does the mouth speak by itself? Institutional gatherings assume that one person is the mouth and everyone else are the ears. What I am getting at is this: All the body parts are equal in Christ and all should have the opportunity for Christ to use them when we gather together. When Christ is allowed to use every person as He chooses, we will see the fullness of this great corporate Lord of ours. He ascended to Heaven for this purpose: That He may be a Corporate Man, in His People, through His Spirit.

Christ is in All

But, we must also believe that Christ is in all. Christ is not only in the pastor, nor, only in the prophet. Christ is in all! Every single believer, in Christ, has the Spirit of Christ living in him or her. Christ can speak through a young child, as He can through an elder. He doesn’t have favorites. He chooses as He wills, according to His wisdom. Indeed, your strengths will inhibit what the Spirit wants to do through you, but your weaknesses give Him free reign. May the weakest be the greatest among us!

Some Thoughts on the Pastorate

Considering that, there is much disagreement over the authority of the pastorate, I will say a few words about it. Let me say that I do, indeed, believe in the ministry of the pastor. But, a pastor, nor any other ministry, is not a title to be taken. You do not choose to be a pastor, pastors are chosen of God and you will act as one as you learn Christ. A pastor does not stand in front of the Flock, but is among it. A pastor is simply another body part, that is no more significant than any other.

Concluding Thoughts

Lastly, I would like to point out that the Church is a living organism, not a structure. It needs nothing, but Christ. All things flow from Him. He is our Life and our Light. If any one member of the Body is not present at any particular organic meeting, the Body is still able to meet without any hindrance. The member, who isn’t present. will be missed, but Christ will still be free to act through His Body. This gathering under the Christ, is a gathering of faith. By faith we see and hear Him through our brothers and sisters. Sometimes, He acts almost imperceptibly, sometimes through power.

I meet organically that Christ may be all and in all.

His Heart Yearns For Jerusalem

Brides

Image by cherie6c via Flickr

1 Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. 2 The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the LORD’s own mouth. 3 The LORD will hold you in his hand for all to see– a splendid crown in the hand of God. 4 Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his bride. 5 Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. 6 O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD. 7 Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. – Isa 62:1-7 NLT

 

In these verses, the Lord displays His overwhelming love for His People, the City of God. How His heart yearns for us! Christ even ever lives to intercede on our behalf. He is so zealous for our righteousness and salvation that He will not stop praying for us. You may wonder what Christ is up to at any given moment. Here you have your answer: He is interceding for us.

But what is the purpose of this? He is going to blind the world with our righteousness and glory. Our righteousness and glory will shine more brightly than the sun. How can this possibly be? It is because Christ Himself is our Righteousness and our Glory. He is the Light that shines in us. When He is our All, when His fullness is displayed in us, all will see that His Brilliance is beyond measure.

Next, we find out that were are to have a new name. The Lord Himself is to give us this name. Our new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God”. This has been God’s purpose from beginning. Throughout Scripture you see the Father building a home. There is the garden, the ark, and the temple. All of these are but shadows of true House of God. The New Jerusalem, the City of God’s Delight, is a Living City. It is built of living stones. Each of us is a living stone and, together, we are this magnificent City that God so delights in. But, we see that is not our only name. We are also called the Bride of God. The Son came for a Bride, someone who He could be One with. He did this by giving us His very Life, so that we can share in His divine nature. What a beautiful Woman this Bride is! We are that Bride and Christ is our Bridegroom. What great names the Lord has given us.

But what does this act of naming us signify? First, it shows that we are the property of the Lord. He has paid our price on the cross, and purchased us by His blood. We are utterly and totally His. Next, He exchanges our name for a new name. Our old self is gone and replaced by one of His own making. Through Christ, our inheritance of death in Adam, has been exchanged for our inheritance of eternal life in Christ. We are truly a new creation in Christ.

How greatly our Lord rejoices in His new creation! We are His great pleasure. He holds us safely in hand and shows us off for all to see. We are like a crown to Him. Since Christ lives in us and Has filled us, He wears us as a crown so that all of earth and all the heavenly places may see this new creation that is made in His full image.

In the last two verses mention, we see that the Lord desires for us to be watchmen over the Church. He desires His People to give Him no rest until His work is completed, which is that this New Jerusalem would be the pride of the earth. He desire that we would pray without ceasing. If you don’t know what to pray for, here you have it. Pray for the desire of the Lord’s heart to be fulfilled. Pray that His work in creating this glorious People, who are called by His Name, may be completed. When you grow tired, take heart, He is ever praying with us and through us.

Oh, how He loves us so!

For He Has Done Wonderful Things

Groom, Texas

Image via Wikipedia

1 In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O LORD! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. 2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” 3 With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! 4 In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the LORD! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! 5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. 6 Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” – Isa 12:1-6 NLT

Here we are given a description of the age in which we now live, and what a glorious age it is! This is not the description of some future time, but this is the time in which we now live. Someone has come and made peace between God and us. God is no longer angry with us, but has become our Comforter, through our faith in Jesus Christ. Once, we were His enemies, but now we are His Family. What a change!

Who is this that Has saved us from His wrath? It is none other than God Himself. This Wonderful God has given Himself to us. He has become our All. What do we now have to fear? Nothing. Christ is our Strength. Christ is our Courage. Christ is our Song. Christ is our Victory. Christ is our Salvation. The list can go on and on. Everything we now have is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have exchanged our ashes for Beauty.

Oh, the riches of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Fountain of our salvation. Everyday, He nourishes us. He is the great Refresher. Has your love grown cold? Are you defeated? The Son beckons you, “Come and drink of Me, for I am the Life-Giving Fountain”. It is our joy to drink deeply of Him. His depths are endless!

From these things flows our thanks and praise to the Lord. We share with others the amazing things that He has done in us and through us. The great might of the Lord is in how He has exchanged our old selves for Christ, that we may no longer live, but He lives in us. Never has such a thing been imagined, except in the mind of God. He has done the most wonderful things imaginable. He has given us His very Life to live by.

The last verse is most amazing. We, the Church, are that great People of Jerusalem. We are the New Jerusalem that descends from Heaven at the end of Revelations. We are the glorious City of God. What is the glory of this City? It is none other than the Holy One, the Christ that lives among us by His Spirit. The Father has indeed found a place of rest in us. Look, how He dwells among us, not just in us, but among us. As we gather, each believer is to share his or her portion of Christ, that He may be displayed among us. No one person can show the fullness of our Lord, but all of us together show His fullness.

God’s Story, Your Story by Max Lucado

There is one story and it is God’s story. He has invited us to be a part of that story. Max Lucado explains this in his book, “God’s Story, Your Story”:

Above and around us God directs a grander saga, written by his hand, orchestrated by his will, unveiled according to his calendar. And you are a part of it. Meaningless Munchkin? Not you. Stranded on the prairie in a creaky old farmhouse? No way. Your life emerges from the greatest mind and the kindest heart in the history of the universe: the mind and heart of God.”

I am convinced that Max Lucado is a skilled writer. He has a special way with words. He is able to take his life experiences and beautifully illustrate his points. Throughout “God’s Story, Your Story, Max Lucado uses personal stories, Scripture, and the stories of others to explore different aspects of this grand story that we are part of.

On of the most intriguing ideas in this book was this:

“As God’s story becomes your, closed doors take on a new meaning. You no longer see them as interruptions of your plan but as indications of God’s plan” (p. 123).

I think this quote describes someone who has denied self, and is consumed with the will of God. When we were included in the death and resurrection of Christ, His story did become our story. Likewise, our story became His.

Not every chapter was interesting. Some were interesting and some weren’t. Also, the flow from chapter to chapter didn’t feel smooth. At times, I was not even sure what point the author was trying to make. I enjoyed most of this book, but it wasn’t amazing or life-changing.

I received this book free from the publisher.


Penetrating the Darkness by Jack Hayford

"Satan Sowing Seeds" by Felicien Rop...

Image via Wikipedia

In “Penetrating the Darkness”, Jack Hayford explains the authority Christ has given to us over the powers of darkness. We are not engaged in a war with flesh and blood, but with principalities in spiritual places. Thus, our warfare with the enemy is conducted by the Spirit, through prayer. Spiritual warfare in prayer is the major topic of this book. The audiobook that I listened to was narrated by Tim Lundeen. His voice was not boring, but soft enough to enjoy listening to during rides to and from work.

Some of the topics that the author discusses in this book are: Intercession, supplication, binding and loosing, and the keys to the kingdom. Jack Hayford uses a mix of Scripture, word study, and personal experience to explain these difficult topics. The author doesn’t distort these topics with a “name it and claim it” theology. Instead, the entire book is based on the power and the authority given to followers of Christ by His Spirit, through the blood and the cross.

If you are tired of being accused by the accuser, sick of seeing relationships ruined by the spirit of division, or angry at the blood of the righteous that has been spilled by the murderer, you will want to read this book. It will explain what Christ has given to you for the battle that the forces of heaven are engaged in against the forces of hell. If you think that spiritual warfare doesn’t involve you, then Satan will bring it to your door. You don’t have to be a victim. In Christ, each of us has been given the power to transform the lives of people around us and even the lives of those far away. We bring the light of Christ into the darkness, and the darkness cannot stand against it.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

Is God’s House Safe From Earthquakes?

A cornerstone with bronze relief images

Image via Wikipedia

Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken. (Isa 28:16 NLT)

The Foundation Stone has come. He was tested in all the ways that we are tested, yet He was without sin. Christ is the precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. He has proven Himself strong and sturdy. The church that is being built together on Christ will not be shaken. It cannot fall. We, His Temple, can only be built together on Christ, the Lord’s Foundation Stone. Earthquakes will come to test your foundation. Many will fall because their foundation was built by man and not by God. Will you believe in the Foundation that God has sent, or will your trust in one of the many foundations that man has produced?

The Privilege of Persecution by Dr. Carl Moeller & David W. Hegg

Persecution of the Christians

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…The persecuted church is God’s gift to us in the West. Their understanding of God, their reverence for His Word, their dependence on prayer and worship, their daily immersion in authentic community, their biblical submission to authority, and their unbridled generosity of spirit can be tremendous resources for us if we only humble ourselves to adopt a spirit of learning” (p. 147).

This book is an opportunity for the church in the West to learn from our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church. Many of in the West have realized that there is something wrong with us. The persecuted church can be an example for us in how to meet in Christ. “Then Privilege of Persecution” will show you the major features that set the persecuted church apart from the church in the West.

I wish I could share with you all that I have learned in this book, but it would be too much for a book review. Here is a glimpse of what I found important in this book: They follow Christ, they enjoy prayer, oneness, slow your pace, and America no longer trusts God.

It is clear that the church in the West is in danger. We have lost our first love. The majority of the church in the world has to cling to Christ or face extinction. In the West, “Christians” can flourish without Christ. The persecuted church has shown its faithfulness in the face of death. We have shown our faithlessness in the face of wealth. Let’s return to Christ and in humility, learn what the persecuted church can teach us about what it really means to follow Him.

I received this book free from the publisher.

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