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Book Review: Jesus: A Theography

Let’s face it. The Bible is often viewed as a disjointed array of stories, events, laws, propositions, truths, ethical statements, and moral lessons. But as we will demonstrate in this book, the sixty-six books of the Bible are woven together by a single storyline. One of the best ways to look at the twenty-seven books of the New Testament may be to see them as a commentary on the Old Testament. The entire Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are unified by a common narrative. And once our eyes are opened to see that narrative, everything in both Testaments gels into a coherent, understandable, and amazing story. And what is that story? Well, it’s not enough to call it “salvation history” as many people do. No. It’s the story of Jesus Christ. The end product of biblical Christianity is a person— not a book, not a building, not a set of principles or a system of ethics— but one person in two natures (divine/ human) with four ministries (prophet/ priest/ king/ sage) and four biographies (the Gospels). But those four biographies don’t tell the whole story. Every bit of Scripture is part of the same great story of that one person and that one story’s plotline of creation, revelation, redemption, and consummation.

Sweet, Leonard; Viola, Frank (2012-10-02). Jesus: A Theography . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Jesus: A Theography, by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, is quite a book at 409 pages. A significant number of those pages consists of footnotes for each chapter. This immense “theography” of Jesus covers Christ, from eternity past to His second coming (and everything in between). It’s not only an objective study of Christ, but also very practical at times.

Honestly, Jesus: A Theography is a difficult book to review. I found some parts of the book very enjoyable, but other parts somewhat tedious. There are different perspectives taken throughout the book and I think that this ensures that every reader will find some enjoyment of Christ within its pages.

If you enjoy reading the Scriptures, there are references. If you enjoy types and symbols, these are considered. If you enjoy a historical view, historical aspects are presented. Plus, I think you will find much, much more. But, you can find all of these things in many books.

What makes Jesus: A Theography unique, is that it’s entirely focused on Christ. Not only Jesus of Nazareth, but the eternal Christ Jesus. Our Lord Jesus is so lovely, so vast, and so all-inclusive, there is no single book that can fully express Him. But, Jesus: A Theography gives us a wonderful view of Him, and it is rooted in the Scriptures.

I recommend this book to all saints, who desire to know our Lord more deeply.

Although, I received this book for free from Booksneeze, but I also purchased an electronic version, so that I could read the footnotes more easily, and so that I could share it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with theFederal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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The Tale of Two Cities

I haven’t had much time nor desire to write posts for the blog. But, I sometimes write posts on Facebook and Google+, which I consider to be too short for a blog post. But, I have decided to create a new category of “Quick Posts”, which I think that may be of some encouragement to readers of this blog.  Hopefully, this will increase the frequency of my posts for those who enjoy frequent blog posts. Here is the first Quick Post:

God’s desire is to have a divine House, a Bride City, in and among His People. But, the enemy has been building up counterfeit cities. We see the struggle between these cities typified throughout Scripture. They alternate back and forth. The building materials for God’s New Jerusalem we in the Garden of Paradise. Then Cain’s son built the city of Enoch. Then there was Noah’s ark, altar, and tent. Then the evil city and tower of Babel. Then Abraham had an altar and a tent, as He looked forward to the City, who’s Architect and Builder is God. At the same time opposed to the altar and tent of Abraham, there were Sodom and Gomorrah. Then Jacob received the revelation of God’s House in a dream and anointed a stone with oil, calling the place Bethel, the House of God. Then Pharoah, a type of Satan, enslaved God’s People to build his treasure cities. But, God called His People out to build His tabernacle, which would be enlarged to be His temple. Opposed to the temple of God, was Babylon, which was Babel. The Temple was rebuilt, after it was destroyed by Babylon. But, there was great opposition from the enemy, to frustrate the rebuilding of God’s temple and city. But, soon the real Tabernacle and Temple came. The types would be destroyed, but the Reality had come in Jesus Christ. He is the foundation stone, the corner stone, and the capstone of the eternal New Jerusalem. We are all part of this New Jerusalem and we are building it with the divine Materials, the triune God Himself. But, opposed to the New Jerusalem, the Bride City, is Babylon, the harlot. A religious and political city, designed and constructed by the enemy, as the full counterfeit to God’s desire.

God’s House is the House of Life, the divine eternal Life of God, in Christ. The counterfeit is the house of death. God’s House is of the Tree of Life, but the enemy’s counterfeit is of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In God’s House, Christ is all and in all, but there is no Christ in the enemy’s city.

Don’t despair that God’s House appears so small and the enemy’s house appears so big. God’s House is Spirit. The New Jerusalem is hidden to the world, but it is the invisible Reality. The enemy’s house is big and shiny, to attract all the people in, but it’s not the Reality.

Christ is the Reality and we are in Him. The New Jerusalem is the full, perfect, and eternal union of God and Man, in Christ.

Can a Rich Man Go to Heaven?

Dollars

Dollars (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, ” Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” – [Mar 10:24-27 NASB]

This is part two of another blog post: Heaven is for Real? I recommend that you read that post before you read this one. I think that Scripture above has been quite troublesome to many of the Lord’s children. Indeed, some have used Jesus’ words to trouble us. Today, I want to lift the burden off of you and clear up some things in these verses. The first misconception is that the Kingdom of God is where we go when we die. No, Jesus was not talking about some place called “heaven”. Jesus is often misquoted as saying:

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God heaven.

The Kingdom of God is where God reigns in Jesus Christ. The heavenly places are indeed part of God’s Kingdom, but Jesus is not referring to the heavenly places. We are the Ekklesia of God and the Kingdom of God is within us and among us! Likewise, as we are the Kingdom of God now, there is a coming Kingdom of God, which we may inherit. Does that mean that there are two Kingdoms of God? No, there is only one. The difference is that we do not yet experience the fullness of the Kingdom of God. But, our Father is bringing us to that fullness, by His Spirit, for His Son. Since, the Kingdom of God is now within us, what was Jesus saying? Jesus was saying that our physical wealth, prevents us from living by the Spirit. It is in our Spirit, that the Kingdom of God is now. That Kingdom is spreading to your soul, or mind, will, and emotions. Someday, we will enjoy the fullness of the Kingdom, when we shed off these bodies of death and we receive our new bodies like Jesus Christ.

So do we have to get rid of all our money? Do we have to sell everything that we own? We can, but Jesus is not giving a command that everyone do so. He is using this wealthy person as an example for us. In Luke 16, our Lord gives us a parable to show that we should be prudent in the use of the unrighteous wealth. He ends that parable by saying this:

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – [Luk 16:10-13 NASB]

Brothers and sisters, don’t be slaves to wealth. Don’t love money and things. If you have wealth, don’t waste it, but use it to help others, especially those around you.

Wealth can be a major hindrance to walking by the Spirit. Through wealth, all kinds of distractions and anxieties come. The more you accumulate, the more distractions and anxieties you will have. But, if you do have the wealth of the world, we have this confidence from our Lord Himself:

With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – [Hbr 12:1-2 NASB]

Is God Unrighteous?

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘ Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” – [Luk 18:1-8 NASB]

Gavel

Gavel (Photo credit: walknboston)

In this parable, Jesus compares God to an unrighteous judge. This parable  has troubled many saints, including myself, in the past. Why should God be compared to an unrighteous judge?

Surely, God is Righteousness and there is no righteousness apart from Him.

But, in this age, God appears unrighteous. Murderers, rapists, thieves, and multitudes of evil doers go unpunished. Many even claim that there is no God and continue to mock the Son of God, yet God gives no response. So many saints, fully justified and righteous in Christ, suffer and die at the hands of the evil one. We are even accused, day and night, by the evil one.

Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! – [Isa 45:15 NASB]

God isn’t unrighteous, but He appears as if He is, because He is a God, who hides himself.

The point of Jesus’ parable is that we should always pray and not lose heart. So many saints have become disheartened and many more continue to do so. When someone we love dearly dies, we may blame God. When disaster falls upon us, we may blame God. We pray and we pray and we pray and He doesn’t answer. We have expectations of Him and He doesn’t meet those expectations.
God will eventually let your expectations of Him fail. He is always faithful, but not always in the way that we expect.

“The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. – [Luk 8:14 NASB]

The disheartened saints have fallen among thorns.

Dear saints, don’t give up! Don’t grow disheartened! Although, our enemy constantly attacks and tortures us in thousands of different ways, our hidden God is faithful!

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. – [Rev 6:9-11 NASB]

Pray without ceasing! Wake up loving our Lord and go to sleep loving our Lord. We don’t have to pray for so many things. Our prayer just needs to be enjoyment and rest in God, by the blood of Jesus Christ, through the Life-giving Spirit. If you do pray for things, pray for His Kingdom, His Ekklesia, His Body, His House, His Family, His Bride, His Righteousness… and He will provide what you need.

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – [Mat 6:31-33 NASB]

Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone for One Another

This post is link eleven in a chain blog initiated by Alan Knox on the topic of “one another.” You can find out how to join in the chain blog at the bottom of this post.

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. – [Isa 28:16 NASB]

The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. – [Psa 118:22 NASB]

Corner Stone

Corner Stone (Photo credit: dfulmer)

Have you seen this Corner Stone, dear brothers and sisters? It is our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the costly, chief Corner Stone of the House of God. The Corner Stone is the most important stone in the House. It must be a perfect Stone. All other stones find their place based on this single Stone.

But, that’s not all this Corner Stone does.

The Corner Stone links two walls together. Once upon a time, in an old creation, there were Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were God’s people, but the Gentiles were far-off from God. One people was filled with the children of God, whereas, the other people was at best, filled up with dogs.

Then, Jesus Christ came and took the Jews and the Gentiles to the cross with and in Him, crucifying them both. Now, in the new creation, there cannot be Jew, nor Gentile. Instead, Christ is all and in all.

Christ is the Corner Stone linking the two walls of the Jews and the Gentiles together into One.

This costly, chief Corner Stone is the basis on which, we relate to one another. This Corner Stone unites us. The old creation is full of every division imaginable. But, there is no division in the new creation. In Christ, we are altogether together One.

In Christ, there are no denominations, races, cultures, religions, philosophies, or any other thing that separates us.

In Christ, we are One Body, One House. Only in Christ can we love one another. Only in Christ can we be kind and compassionate to one another. Only in Christ can we be devoted to one another. Only in Christ can we outdo one another in showing honor. Only in Christ can we encourage one another. Only in Christ can we spur one another on to acts of love and good works. Only in Christ can we submit to one another.

The old creation is summed up with slaying one another. All day, every day, the Adamic race is slaying one other, whether on the battlefield or in the workplace; whether physically or emotionally.

But, we are the new creation! We are united in Christ, our costly, chief Corner Stone! We are ministering Christ into one another! With the Triune God, we are building one another up, into the City of God!

Every time we meet with one another, let’s enjoy this Corner Stone. Please, don’t leave this blog and say, “Well, that is true, but that’s not realistic”. If we would just keep our eyes on the Corner Stone and not on our flesh, we would experience the Reality with one another.

O precious Lord Jesus, you are the Corner Stone holding us all together. We are united to the uttermost in You. Open our eyes to see that You are the Reality. Make us see that You are our Corner Stone. Make us see that You hold us all together and everything that separates us is altogether opposed to You. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts to see You in Your glorious fullness. Then we will love one another with Your Love, which You have poured into us, until we have overflowed.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. – [Eph 2:19-22 NASB]

This is a blog post in a Chain Blog started by Alan Knox. Read on to learn about the other links in the chain, and to find out how you can participate in this chain blog.

Links in the ‘One Another’ Chain Blog

  1. Chain Blog: One Another – Alan Knox
  2. Linking One Another – Swanny
  3. What Does It Mean to Love One Another? – Chuck McKnight
  4. The treasure of ‘One Another’ – Jim Puntney
  5. This is how the world shall recognise you… – Kathleen Ward
  6. Accepting one another in love – Chris Jefferies
  7. One Another: A meta-narrative for the church – Part One and Part Two by Greg Gamble
  8. Individualism and “One Another” – Pieter Pretorius
  9. All Alone with One Another – by Jeremy Myers
  10. When it’s OK for Christians to compete – Joshua Lawson
  11. Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone for One Another – Peter
  12. Be Superficial With One Another – Jon
  13. Who will write the 13th link post in the chain?

Chain Blog Rules

  1. If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.
  2. Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain.” Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog (both this post and the other link posts in the chain).
  3. When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.

Where in the Heavenly Places are We Seated?

I think that God did something wonderful in each heart as they learned to share and hear Christ. – John WilsonGathering in the Garden

Brother John Wilson, has written another wonderful blog post on an organic gathering of some young saints. It has a very fitting title, Gathering in the Garden. I think that you will enjoy it immensely. Pray that these little ones will be built together, with love, in Christ, as a place a place of rest for our Father.

Now for my blog post…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, – [Eph 2:4-6 NASB]

Girl by PernilleH via Flickr

Dear saints, you may not feel like it, but you are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Since you have believed into Christ, you have been utterly and eternally united with Christ. When our Father looks at you He just sees Christ. In Christ, you have been resurrected, ascended, and seated in the heavenly places.

But, what does it mean that we are seated in the heavenly places?

Where in the heavenly places are we seated?

Paul makes it clear that we are seated with Christ and in Christ. So the real question is: Where is Christ seated?

…Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. – [1Pe 3:21-22 NASB]

O yes, dear brothers and sisters! Let’s shout with joy that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Do you see the implications of this? Since Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God, we are seated at the right hand of God.

Everything that is true of our beloved Lord Jesus, is true of us. When you are seated, you are resting. We are resting, in Christ, at the right hand of God!

I hope that you are enjoying Christ and resting in Him, as that is your rightful place. This doesn’t have to be a distant objective reality. We have His Spirit, within us. Turn your mind to the Spirit within you. Love Him and enjoy Him. God is not only in you, but you are in Him. Take pleasure in being in Him. The simplest way I know of turning to the Spirit, is to focus on Him and say, “Lord Jesus, I love You!” But, do not take this as a rule or a method. It doesn’t even require words. Just let the love that God has poured into your heart, flow back to Him. Tell Him how lovable He is. He is the delight of the nations! He is the healing of the nations! O glorious and beautiful Lord Jesus, you are our delight and enjoyment. Make our hearts burn within us, for You. Shine Your Face on us. May we be Your enjoyment. May we be Your delight. O thirsty and hungry Lord, enjoy a feast of our enjoyment of Christ.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. – [Eph 1:18-23 NASB]

The Lord’s Response to Satan’s Accusations Against Us

All Scripture finds its organic center and unity in Jesus. – Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, Jesus: A Theography

Do you know what happened before the foundation of the world? Go read Frank Viola‘s blog post, What Happened Before the Foundation of the World? at Beyond Evangelical, containing an excerpt from Leonard Sweet’s and Frank Viola’s new book Jesus: A Theography.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by. And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here. – [Zec 3:1-7 NASB]

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. – [Rev 12:10 NASB]

Fireworks

Fireworks (Photo credit: bayasaa)

Dear saints, we all experience the constant accusations against us by the evil one. He accuses us day and night. What should we do, in light of his harassment? Should we run? Should we hide? Should we deny his accusations?

We feel ashamed because his accusations against us are true. By nature, we are dirty. We were born in sin. Indeed, when Adam and Eve joined in Satan’s rebellion, by eating from the Tree of Knoweldge of Good and Evil, we took the satanic nature into our flesh. Whenever we have tried to do good, our flesh has overpowered us. Thus, Satan has had ground to accuse us before the Lord. Has this been your experience? Have you lived in guilt under his accusations, whether in your mind or from the people around you?

We are standing there in filthy clothes before Christ, who is the Angel of the Lord. Satan is standing to our side, accusing us. Our embarrassment is multiplied as the multitude of angels watch.

Brothers and sisters, the answer is not to argue with Satan. The answer is not to hide ourselves. The answer is not to try to clean our filthy clothes.

Jesus Christ has the answer. He rebukes Satan and proclaims us as a brand, plucked from the fire. He takes away our filthy garments and He takes our iniquity away. We are cleaned to the uttermost, not just our robes, but our turban, as well. He doesn’t just give us ordinary clean robes, but festal robes. He turns our sorrow into joy; He turns our mourning into a celebration!

Jesus Christ is the answer. Joshua is us in this picture, but Joshua is also a picture of Christ. He was never dirty, but He put on flesh, as if He was. This picture of us as the High Priest is a foreshadowing of us as the Body of Christ. We are made clean because we are in Him, we are part of Him, we are utterly and intimately united with Him. We do not cleanse ourselves, but He cleanses us.

Don’t run.

Don’t hide.

Don’t argue.

Just trust in our Lord Jesus. Let Him make you clean. He desires to wash your feet. He will rebuke Satan for His accusations. He will cast down Satan. You are now in Christ and your dirty robes have been buried in the tomb. Now, He will put robes of celebration on you!

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The Man on the Red Horse Among the Myrtle Trees

Seeing each other in Christ and looking to each other, we are asking if we can share. Share the most valuable space in time, the expression of Christ. – Mark Champion, Letters :: Face

Do you look into the face of Christ, when you see your brothers and sisters, in Christ? If you don’t, you should check out Mark Champion‘s blog post, Letters :: Face. May all the saints see Christ, when we look at each other…just as our Father does.

Now for my blog post…

I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.” So they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.” Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” The LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. – [Zec 1:8-13 NASB]

Janie's crepe myrtle tree across the alley

Janie’s crepe myrtle tree across the alley (Photo credit: EraPhernalia Vintage . . . (playin’ hook-y ;o))

Beloved saints, I have comforting words for you today. This blog post is as much for myself, as it is for you. Do you recognize this Man on the red horse, who is standing among the myrtle trees? He is the Angel of the Lord; He is Jesus Christ.

The book of Zechariah was written to the Lord’s People, who had been exiled. God’s People were so very low, while the nations were prospering. So, here you see God’s People as myrtle trees in a ravine. Myrtle trees, when chopped down, will shoot back up. You have to pull a myrtle tree out by the roots, in order to kill it. God’s People had been exiled, chopped down, and were as low as they could go in the bottom of a ravine. So where is the comfort?

Jesus, on a red horse, is among the myrtle trees! He is on a horse, symbolizing his swiftness in coming to His People’s aid. The horse is red, symbolizing the blood He will shed. You can compare this to the rider of the red horse in Revelation, who symbolizes war. Both symbolize blood that is shed. But, in Zechariah, it is Jesus’ blood.

Then, you have another picture of the Lord’s People in the three horses. Notice, that these three horses are following Jesus. There are three different colors of horses: red, reddish-brown, and white. Each one shows the progression of the saints. Some are red, like Jesus’ horse. This is because we are covered with His blood. Next, there are the reddish-brown horses, which shows that there is some mixture. Even though we are covered with His blood, we are not so pure yet. We are often still earthly and natural. Finally, there are the white horses. It is the Lord’s desire that we all be white horses. These horses symbolize purity. They have been washed by the blood, and have put off the Adamic fallen nature.

These horses have been spread throughout the earth and have a report for the Lord. The earth is peaceful and quiet, while the Lord’s People suffer.

While the evil people of this world prosper, we are often suffering. But, the Lord has gracious and comforting words for us, beloved brothers and sisters. He is not slow to come to our aid. He is even among us. Don’t think that He is far away. Even if you do not sense Him, He is intimately united with you in your Spirit. He has compassion on you and will lift you up. Even if you feel utterly worthless, you are a treasure to Him. You may feel hurt, broken, depressed, and like you have nothing to offer the world. Yet, Jesus would not throw you away. He desires to be your Doctor, your Lover, your Father; He desires to lift you out of the ravine and refresh you.

“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. – [Isa 42:3-7 NASB]

The Letter Kills, but the Spirit Gives Life

 

This “new Canaan” is Jesus Christ, He is outside the “camp” of mans religion. The reports are to be mixed with faith, not in those making the reports, but in the One that is Faithful and True. – Jim Putney, The Treasure of New Canaan

Have you seen Jesus Christ as thew new Canaan, as our Promised Land? Whether you have already seen this or not, I think that you will enjoy Jim Putney‘s blog post: The Treasure of the New Canaan at Treasure in Jars of Clay. His words are encouraging and so is his quote from T. Austin-Sparks. Now for my blog post…

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – [2Cr 3:5-6 NASB]

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, as I was getting into my car to leave a certain place, I saw a brother reading the Bible on the back of his truck. When I saw him, I was moved to fellowship with him. I went over to him and asked, “What are you reading?”. He replied, “The Bible”. So, I said, “Yeah, but what are you reading in the Bible?”. He answered, “I don’t talk to nobody when I am reading the Bible, so go ahead and get out of here”.

This brother was not only reading the dead letter, but he killed the fellowship that we could have had. We could have shared the Lord together. We could have read the Scriptures together, by the Spirit, to see Christ. But, all he had was the letter, so we didn’t enjoy any Life together. We were not able to partake of the Tree of Life together, because he was busy eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Many are reading the Scriptures in a religious way and the result is death. They are not only killing themselves, but they are killing others. Do not be like this brother, who rejected me for a book.

Don’t reject each other. Instead, love each other and shine your light on each other; let Christ within you be expressed through you.

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. – [2Cr 3:2-3 NASB]

 

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.

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.

Jesus Christ, Life and Light

Before, I get into the blog post today, I want to share the deep writings of a wonderful brother in Christ, T. Austin-Sparks. All of his writings are free at The Online Library of T. Austin-Sparks. He was a mature saint, who suffered much, and through whom, Christ has been magnified to many. I highly recommend T. Austin-Sparks’ writings, The School of Christ, The Stewardship of the Mystery Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and The Centrality and the Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, I think you will see more of Christ in all of his writings.

Brothers and sisters, I have always loved the song Silent Night. Since it is such a simple song, it is one of the first songs, that I am learning to play on the guitar. I realized that I don’t really care for the words too much anymore, considering Jesus Christ is far greater than that song shows Him to be. Thus, I wrote a new hymn to the tune of Silent Night called: Jesus Christ, Life and Light. Enjoy Him!

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
You’re our Calm, You’re our Sight
Around the Head, the saints gather
Holy ones loving each other
Rest in our Father’s House

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
Demons quake at the sight
Glories stream from Heaven within
Living stones sing Jesus, our Kin
Christ the Lord is displayed

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
In You there is no night
We look to You with unveiled face
Receiving Your Life as our Grace
Marriage of Christ and His Bride.

Us in Christ and Christ in Us

“Just as Copernicus came to see that the sun is the central component to the solar system, today we are seeing the absolute central importance of the Son, the Son of God, who became the Son of man.” —  Jim Putney

Have you seen the centrality of Jesus Christ, in all things? That is the topic of a wonderful blog post by Jim Putney at Treasures in Jars of Clay. Jim’s blog post is called Treasure of the Son and I think that you will truly see that the Son is our treasure, when you read it.

that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. – [Col 1:26-28 NASB]

“Us in Christ” and “Christ in us”, are two foundational phrases to the Life in Christ. Unfortunately, in modern Christianity these two aspects of our faith, have been relegated. They have been made far less important, than they actually are.

Us in Christ

If you have believed into Christ, you are in Him. By faith, we are included in His death and resurrection. It is likely that you already know that Jesus died for us and in our place, but do you know that we have died and resurrected in Christ?

Nowadays, it is rare thing for Christians to know this. It is not considered as something important.

I’m not saying something “revolutionary” or sharing some “higher knowledge”. Our sharing in Christ’s death and resurrection are absolutely basic to our Life in Him.

We have entered into a whole new world, in Christ. Our Father no longer sees us, but He sees Christ. Everything that is true of Christ is true of us, who have believed into Him. We share in His death, His resurrection, His perfection, His holiness, His righteousness, His wealth, His purity, His sonship, His eternal life, His everything! The list is eternal, as He is. Indeed, our Father has made Christ everything to us and for us.

If you want to read about being in Christ, in more depth, check out The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee.

Christ in Us

The other side of the same coin is “Christ in us”, our hope of glory. Not only are we in Christ, but He is in us. He is in us as the Spirit, energizing us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

When the Father sees us, He just sees Christ. This is something objective to us; but the Spirit in us, is bringing us experientially into that Reality. You see…the Father sees the Reality, that we are so intimately united with Christ, but we don’t see it yet. The Spirit is bringing us into that Reality of the new creation.

We don’t see the glory in its fullness yet, but the Spirit within us is the promise. We have the Seal of the King in our Spirit.

We are like plants, growing nice and green. The flower is our glory. The flower has been within us from when we were just seeds and seedlings, but it has not yet manifested. We look forward to that glory, that outward manifestation of Christ. Christ in us is the hope that we will fully manifest Him outwardly.

O, saints, “us in Christ” and “Christ in us” are the beginnings of the journey, through to the end of the journey, and on into all of eternity. We abide in Him and He abides in us. Everything flows from this! You can meditate on these things your entire lives, and never fully grasp them.

Take these things by faith. Whenever you feel unrighteous and fleshly, make an audible statement of faith by saying “I am in Christ” or “Christ is in me”.  Encourage each other with this Reality.

We are in Christ and Christ is in us; we are altogether One!

The Stone That Became a Mountain

Mountains - Autumn in Denali

“You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. – [Dan 2:34-35 NASB]

Here we have Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about a stone, cut without human hands that would destroy all human authority. Do you know who this Stone is? Have you heard of such a Rock?

There is only One.

He is Jesus, our risen Christ, the Lord of all.

You may have seen Jesus Christ as the Stone, but have you seen that He is becoming a great Mountain and this great Mountain is filling the earth? This is the enlargement of Christ. A Stone becoming a Mountain is nothing more that the enlargement of that wonderful Stone.

But, how could such a thing happen?

Christ became a life-giving Spirit.

So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. – [1Cr 15:45 NASB]

We, the Body of Christ, are that Holy Mountain. We have the Spirit of the living Christ mingled with our spirit. This Spirit, who has indwelt us, is spreading out and saturating us so that we are being filled with Him and conformed to the image of Christ

We are the enlargement of the Stone, the enlargement of this glorious Christ. He is filling the whole earth through us. This is how God is fulfilling His eternal purpose.

There is no room for our natural selves. All that we are must die, so that we can be filled with Christ. Nothing of ourselves will ever please God. He only wants Christ and only Christ is pleasing to Him. Christ, in His resurrection Life, is the pleasant aroma ascending up to God.

Do you see what this is leading to?

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]

Jesus Christ, the Lord, will be the only One and His Name will be the only One. Only that which is of Christ will last. Everything else will be consumed by fire.

All things will be in Christ and Christ will be in all things.

May we be emptied by the daily experience of the cross, so that we may be filled with Christ. May we experience the unsearchable riches of Christ. May Christ be all and in all.

Jesus Christ, the Ram of God

Ouessant ram

[13] Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. – [Gen 22:13 NASB]

You have probably heard of Christ as the Lamb of God, but in the Old Testament, we see that He is even the Ram of God. Don’t think that the Lamb and the Ram are very different. They are both sheep. But, they show us different aspects of our dear Lord.

The Ram has horns, symbolizing Christ’s fighting power.

[53] “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? – [Mat 26:53 NASB]

So what prevented Him from using such power?

Thicket

We see that this Ram’s horns were caught in the thicket. This thicket symbolizes fallen humanity. Christ had so much fighting power. He had power over nature, demons, illnesses, and even death. But, He was caught by our fallen humanity.

In order to attain His eternal purpose, God needs a People who express His image and exercise His authority. Fallen humanity, poisoned with sin and death, could never achieve God’s eternal purpose. So Christ laid down His horns, in order to suffer and die for us, becoming the Lamb of God.

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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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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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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.

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.

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