Tag Archive: Prophecy



Galatians 3:19-20, “What then was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise had referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.”

image

When we read or review the old and new covenants, we find that each covenant is represented by a figurehead or authority. In the case of the Old Testament, we find this figure to be Moses, while in the new, it is Christ. An remarkable aspect of compairison between Christ and Moses, is that when we look at the life of Moses, we find his life contained many things which are represented and corollary to the life our Lord and savior led, when He became subservient to physicality. Thus, we can conclude that the life of Moses, was a representational prophecy concerning the promise God had made prior to Abraham. It is fitting that the old and new covenants would have such striking parallels among the lives of both their authoritative figures. Here is a brief list of just some of the parallels between Jesus and Moses:

Moses: The Pharaoh decreed all male Hebrew babies be killed.
Jesus: Herod decreed all male Hebrew babies be killed.

Both were hidden in Egypt so that their lives would be spared. In addition, both Jesus and Moses, were in exile until the death of those rulers that had ordered the death of Hebrew male children.

Moses: Born when the Egyptians, a Gentile culture, ruled over the Israelites.
Jesus: Born when the Romans, a Gentile culture, ruled over the Israelites.

Moses: Raised by a man who was not his real father.
Jesus: Raised by a man who was not his real father, for His real father was God.

Moses: Freed his people from slavery.
Jesus: Freed us of the slavery of sin.

image

Christ and Moses were both mediators between man and God the Father. Moses became, more or less, the mouthpiece for God to make known the Law unto man. Why was the law brought to man through Moses in the first place, given that the gospel had already been revealed to Abraham? Paul tells us that it was due to the vileness of man and our disobedience. Our perverse nature and tendency to revolt and rebel against God, brought Him much grief. God’s grief, sadness, and anger are frequent messages of the prophets, like, notably, the minor prophet Hosea, whose life became representational of how God views our relationship with Him. The law was made to show man what he is, and what he should be. By the law, man saw that the pride they had in themselves was undeserved, for the law represented a precipice that man was and is unable to scale.

image

The law was not made to cancel out any hope, for the hope we have in Christ wouldn’t exist hadn’t it been for the law. Hope, within the confines of the human mind, rests in a future tense, that those things that are the desires of our heart may come to pass eventually as time slips further and further behind us. We see by the law, that because all have sinned, we can only direct our hope to one place, as Abraham did, and that is in God’s promises. It was a promise to Abraham that through his bloodline, a savior would come and be the object of hope for all nations. We can’t hope on the law, for though it is good, no hope is revealed in it, only condemnation. God, by his grace, gave us something to hope in, something that far exceeds the hope directed at physical things. This hope is eternal and true, rather than the antithesis of the world, where it is momentary and may, or may not, occur.

image

So, though the law provided no hope, it prepared the way for the hope and faith we have in Jesus Christ our Lord and salvation. We understand our need for salvation due to the law, and if there was no law, we wouldn’t understand to the degree we do, that we need to be saved. The laws intention was to refocus man on God, and illuminate the promises He made to and through Abraham as well as the prophets. Thus, we now place our hope on Christ who, reveals and offers this hope to us, and as God’s promises to Abraham proved true, likewise will Christ’s promises to us.

image

The mediators Jesus Christ, and Moses, showed the world where it is and where it can be in the eyes of God. As Moses was a mediator between God and the Israelites, he was also of the Israelites. In the same way, Christ was a mediator between man and God, but was of God. Christ, the mediator, presents us to the Father and it is by our faith in Him that all are saved. He is the embodiment of the law, hope, faith, obedience, and God Himself.

image


“Consider Abraham: ‘He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ 7Understand then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” -Galatians 3:6-7

20120325-005657.jpg

The apostle Paul was masterful at taking the Old Testament and applying it to the truth of Jesus Christ, of whom he became witness. Both Jesus and Paul, by their words, show the incredible truth behind the Old Testament, that though by the new covenant, we are granted righteousness by faith in Christ, it doesn’t necessarily negate the old covenant, or visa versa. In fact, the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old.

20120325-010646.jpg

A frequent question among believers and the secular community is, if one is saved in Christ, what about all those who came before Christ? Were they not given the opportunity to be saved? I used to struggle with this question myself, but after reading this verse and others like it, and with my own personal discoveries and revelations concerning the nature of faith, I have come to the conclusion that even prior to Christ, man was capable of coming under grace.

20120325-011024.jpg

As Paul says, let us consider Abraham. Abraham was a man of great faith, so much so that when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham complied with the command. Yet, at the last minute, the Lord sent an angel to prevent the sacrifice of Isaac, but provided a ram to take Abraham’s sons place. Not only does this speak of great faith, but also obedience, which springs forth from that faith.

image

Now Abraham was faulty just as any other man, but even prior to the new covenant, his faith was credited to him as righteousness by God. This is due to the nature of faith, which we should all take a lesson from, that by understanding this lesson, one may overcome doubt and worry. Briefly, I will mention as I write this, that it is a lesson that is speaking to me as well.

image

It’s not as simple as having faith in the existence of Christ and our Lord, rather faith runs deeper than this, and it is important to meditate on it that our roots may grow deeper. Abraham not only believed in God, but believed in what He said. This might seem like a small difference, but in reality it is quite large, for to believe in what God says, is to believe in His promises. Therefore, when God told Abraham that his offspring would be the savior of the world, Abraham completely believed and it, again, was credited to him.

image

Within Paul’s letters, Paul elaborates on Abraham’s offspring. Paul tells us in the context, “offspring,” is presented, it is not plural, but rather singular. Thus, a multitude of Abraham’s descendants wouldn’t save the world, but rather one singular man of a divine nature, that is Christ. In Jesus’s time, the prophecy of a savior was no secret, in fact many were looking for the savior, but in their pride, the Jews misunderstood the heavenly nature of the savior. Many expected a mere king and not the King of Kings.

image

Abraham understood this and had faith in God that the savior would come and thereby, put his faith not only in God, but the savior that was to come. This is why we are children of Abraham. Abraham was of a previous generation, before the new covenant and Abraham believed this covenant was to come. Thus, with Abraham coming before, he is our father of those who would be credited righteousness through faith.

image

Abraham was not considered righteous for obedience to any Law (although the Law hadn’t been given unto Moses yet) or by any of his works, but was considered and credited righteousness because of faith and belief. It is akin to this same faith in the Lord and His promises that we become the descendants of Abraham. In Galatians 3:8-9, Paul states:

“The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ 7So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”

image

Therefore, let us not only believe in God the Father, and the Son, but let us believe in what they make known unto us by the Word and through the Spirit, who counsels us in all things. Anyone who did this under the old covenant was granted a like righteousness, but being under the new, we are witnesses to Christ’s death, by which we are justified, and His resurrection, through which righteousness and eternal life comes. Christ gained the firstfruits of the glorified body, due to His righteousness, but Abraham was the father of righteousness by faith.

image

What the Lord tells us is true and should not be doubted. It is correct to say some promises won’t come to pass until the appointed time, but let us not grow weary of our waiting upon the Lord, nor let it produce doubt within us. The Lord cannot break a covenant, for to do so would make Him imperfect, and we would cease to exist altogether. Thus, all the Lord has said will come to pass, in this age or the next, and this shall not hinder our faith. For even Abraham wasn’t hindered in his faith, but knew the promises of God would be fulfilled even when our father of righteousness by faith had passed from the world.

image


“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7

Photobucket

"The Conversion of Saul," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

Let us not compare our Christian walk or spiritual gifts with anyone else in the Body of Christ. Romans 12:6-8 makes it abundantly clear that we differ in gifts and those godly manifestations expressed in the body. These are from God and are granted to us by His grace. This is important to realize, for even these blessed gifts by the Lord can be used by our sinful nature to feed our pride.

The enemy loves to turn our work for the Lord into something sinful. It’s not to say the work of the Lord in and of itself is sinful, of course not, but rather that we ourselves may sin in our efforts to be in complete obedience with our Lord. We may have the gift of prophecy and we may serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, or show mercy. Yet, a hidden danger might lie in wait, for instead of acknowledging the source, we may use these gifts to feed our pride. This verse suggests that Paul himself was tempted with this as he followed obediently to complete God’s great works.

Photobucket

"Apostle Paul," by Rembrandt. oil on canvas, c. 1657

Yet, God in His wisdom knew that this would hinder the great work He was doing through and with Paul. This partnership would have been spoiled if the apostle would have become conceited. So, there was given to Paul a thorn in his flesh, “a messenger of Satan,” to torment him. What this “thorn” actually was has been debated for some time. These range from a physical malformation or defect of some sort, to a sin that tormented Paul. Regardless of what it was, we know that this “thorn” kept Paul grounded with the Lord, and he eventually found that “thorn” to be a blessing, for without it Christ’s power wouldn’t be able to “rest on him” to the degree it did.

Photobucket

Outside Christ, who was perfect, even the most amazing men of God in the scriptures had grievous faults, which should give us some hope. It certainly does me. Moses for example was a murderer, had anger issues, was a stutterer, and was disobedient to the Lord. Though Moses was disciplined for this by not being able to enter the promised land, God used this faulty man to do an amazing work, as He can use us, as faulty as we are, to do great works as well.

Photobucket

"Moses Striking The Egyptian (detail)," Amsterdam Hagadah, c. 1695

When we come to the Lord in faith, He is not beyond bringing hardship, weakness, persecutions, “thorns,” and difficulties in our lives so that we may not loose sight of Him. If we are too prideful in our walk with the Lord and in the gifts He bestows in us, we should not be too shocked when, in His sovereignty, brings about a hardship to “ground” us.

Although I don’t like speaking for God, I do feel comfortable saying that God doesn’t want to encourage sin in your life. So if you haven’t been granted gifts to a fullness yet, perhaps if they were given unto you, the glory would go to the self and not God.

Let us pray for the understanding at only comes from the Spirit, that we may be instructed on how to avoid becoming to proud in our obedience and the gifts God pours into us. Let us pray that we will give credit where it’s due, that is, to the source of the gifts we are presented and indeed all things. Let us forever strive not to pervert that which is Holy or shift the glory of God onto the self. May He be forever praised. Amen.

Photobucket


“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows.” -2 Corinthians 12:2

Photobucket

It should be no secret to those who follow the Lord that there is indeed a supernatural aspect to our faith. The deeper our relationship with the Lord becomes, the more this is manifest within our lives. It does not follow the common course of things, causality and physicality, but rather surpasses it and our mystical (not in a pagan sense, indeed the word actually has its origins in Christianity) relationship with God becomes apparent.

A person who chases after these experiences alone, however, is in extreme danger of practicing that which belongs to the occult. Man should never initiate such experiences, but let them come at the Lord’s bidding and when He sees fit to make them manifest, and to what degree.

There are numerous supernatural manifestations that can occur when one is in the Lord. These range from prophecy, visions, dreams, miraculous healings, and even hearing, or speaking, directly from the Lord Himself. It should be mentioned there is a dualism concerning such things, for the occult has similar practices, but there is one major difference, one is perpetuated by man, the other by the Lord, and manifest in man or nature.

Photobucket

Paul, no stranger to the miraculous, recounts the story of an unnamed man who was caught up to the third heaven. This, “Third Heaven,” doesn’t indicate that there are separate layers of paradise, but in this account, it suggests that wherever this person was taken, it transcends the upper atmosphere of the earth, the surpassing heaven, the firmament of the cosmos, and finally into that supernatural realm which is the dwelling place of God. What is therefore concluded by the mere existence of this third heaven is that it trumps all that is physical.

Photobucket

Paul goes on to say that he doesn’t know if this person’s experience was in the body or independent of it. The interesting thing about this, among others, is that regardless, in Paul’s mind, it neither adds nor detracts from the reality of the experience. To Paul, either way, it doesn’t cease to be any less real.

There is a phenomenon some experience called, “waking dreams.” Though it has it’s ungodly representation in the occult, Christians too have these experiences, from God, where they neither know if they are awake or dreaming, or if they are of the body or a part from it. The question becomes if any of these categories negate the reality of the experience? My conviction is that it doesn’t necessarily follow that these encounters are any less real than the physical ground we walk on. In fact, they may represent to some degree true reality.

Photobucket

As I have stressed before, the occult has similar practices. Apart from who initiates the experience, is there any way to tell one from another? I am convinced that there are some guidelines we should look to when approaching the subject.

The first is, who does it glorify? Realize the Lord does nothing arbitrarily and without purpose. For instance, He wouldn’t lift you up to the third heaven just to satisfy some personal curiosity you may have concerning it. Rather, the experience will be for not only your benefit, which is apparent by the mere personal nature of the experience, but the Lord will use it in order that you be a testimony before man. Thus, it will be to His glory.

Photobucket

Second, where does it lead you? If one is led to a place of darkness apart from God, or if the experience makes you focus on the self, then one is in terrible danger. If such an experience leads one to become boastful of their own abilities to produce such a supernatural experience, than one can reasonably conclude it is not from God, and if it is not from God, than one is being deceived.

Deception wouldn’t be called such if it didn’t have the ability to put on a guise of something true and lead people astray. That’s why it is so effective. One should pray for discernment in the Spirit and protection of the Lord, that such deceptions may not lead you into believing a lie. We need to realize that the Great Deceiver never created anything himself, he only perverted those pure things that God set in place. Thus, there is a dualism about such things, the proper, and the sinful, or improper.

Photobucket

If an experience produces fruits of a Godly nature, and it’s in perfect alignment with the Spirit and nature of God revealed in His scriptures, than one can induce that it’s from God.

Yet, on the antithesis, if an experience produces fruits of the self, pride and encourages sin, and leads people astray, along with not lining up with scripture, then one can deduce that it is not from God. Yet, it should be said that we need discernment in the Spirit, for the Spirit is capable of understanding the supernatural, while our minds are inept at knowing such things. Remember, such false supernatural occurrences are due to the actions of man and not the will of God.

Photobucket

Finally, realize our God is not one of confusion. Chances are, He won’t let such experiences in your life, that are of Him, until you are ready. However, as we grow, use the faculties the Lord has given you, along with the weapons of righteousness, that in these supernatural manifestations, if they indeed occur, you may not be led astray.

Photobucket


“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.'” -Romans 1:17


Whenever Paul says, “it is written,” it should jump out at you immediately that he is talking about the Old Testament. This being the case, when he says this, quite often it’s to refer back to the Old Testament to point out some prophecy or truth that was fulfilled with Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

The phrase, “the righteous will live by faith,” is a reference to Habakkuk 2:4 (See my note, “On The Bloating of Pride, Sin, and In Which You’ll Read a Few Notes Concerning Biblical Humor”). The first referring to Christ, that by His faith He will be made righteous, the first fruits of this righteousness. The second referring to that those who have faith on Christ will share in His righteousness.
In addition, this phrase shows us where obedience comes from, and that is faith. Faith and a relationship with God does not come from obedience (See my note, “On Obedience and Faith,” Romans 1:5).

%d bloggers like this: