Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen

1 Corinthians 4:2.  Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful. 

To be faithful to the Gospel is to go beyond belief. Those who have heard and believe the Gospel Paul identifies as “the called”: 

Romans 1:6. “among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ”. 

This is just a first step, in what is “a walk of faith”, while abiding in the gift of the Spirit. For Jesus said this to His followers, many of whom would fall away:

Matthew 22:14.  For many are called, but few are chosen. 

Seek from the Lord a personal dispensation, and be among the elect. 

Ephesians 3:2.  if indeed you have heard of the dispensation (=stewardship) of the grace of God which was given to me for you. 

Now you will have a direction to allow your faith to be transformed to faithfulness. 

Rev 17:14.  and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 

Jesus told Thomas, who doubted: 

John 20:27. “be not faithless; be faithful”- not ‘believing’, as with most translations.

Mark 13:27.  And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost parts of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. 

Rev 2:10.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life..

Rev 3:11.  I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 

John 1:16.  And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. 

What then is “grace for grace”?

This can be understood by these words of the Lord to His disciples:

Matthew 10:8.  “freely you have received, freely give”.

Churches are full of people every Sunday morning who have received God’s grace, as evidenced by the fact that they got out of bed. Hallelujah! The body of Christ continues to touch lives by the hands of those who give grace. Who have received grace, for grace.

The testimony of Christian maturity is found in the words of Paul: 

Philippians 1:7.  Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel: you all are partakers of my grace. 

The unmerited favor of God is a theological definition of grace that is widely accepted among Christians.

2 Corinthians 9:8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. 

A Holy Spirit definition of grace: the all sufficiency of God that enables us to abound in every good work in service to the body of Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:7.  Therefore, as you abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that you abound in this grace also (charity). 

Since it is still better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), continue to freely give, for we have received of His Fullness.

What Does The Church of The Firstborn Mean

This is from a teaching website and a standard interpretation.

A link to the site is at the end.    

What Does The Church of The Firstborn Mean?

Hebrews 12:22-24 states: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

First, in the original language, the term “firstborn” is in the plural. It should be translated as “church of the firstborn ones.”                                          

Second, we must recognize that Jesus is The “Firstborn.” He was given the preeminence (superiority) by God the Father over the new creation (Colossians 1:15-20). He was also preeminent because He arose from the dead and was the first person to die no more (Revelation 1:5).                                                

Third, sinners who trust and obey the gospel of Christ (John 8:24; Acts 17:30; Romans 10:9,10; Acts 2:38) will undergo water baptism to identify with Jesus (Ephesians 1:3,12; 2:13; Acts 22:16 – His precious blood which washes away our sins), the Firstborn One, to also become firstborn ones because they have been raised from water “to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3,4). They have experienced a death to the old life of sin, a burial of that old man of sin, and a spiritual resurrection of a new man by God’s grace through faith via water immersion. They also look forward if they are faithful (if they should die first) to a physical resurrection from the dead at the end of time (1 Corinthians 15) since Jesus was the first one to rise from the dead to die no more.

https://thegospelofchrist.com/knowledge-base/tgoc-kb–hwwgt

Discussion and Analysis

First, the fact that firstborn is in plural form is not Biblical interpretation, but Grade school grammar. The subject is ‘church’ which should require no explanation, as having many members. This requires the plural form in the object of the preposition, ‘firstborn.’                                                     

Second, Jesus is identified as the Firstborn, hence the church of the firstborn implies: His church, His body. This then supports the idea of ‘The Church of The Firstborn One’. Translating ‘church of the firstborn ones’ suggests to the reader that only firstborn children are allowed membership, and misrepresents the significance of the word.                                                                         

Third, and most elaborate is the explanation that sinners who are baptised in repentance become ‘firstborn ones’ by faith. No where in the New Testament are we ever instructed that we have become firstborn by grace through faith. To understand the significance of the firstborn, the seeker of Truth must look to the Law and the Prophets. 

Isaiah 8:20.  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

[Here is an analysis based on Exodus 13 and associated scriptures.]  

Memorial of the Firstborn

Exodus 13:9.  And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand and for a memorial before your eyes that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.                                                     

After destroying all the firstborn males of Egypt and sparing Israel, both of man and beast, the Lord claims all the firstborn males who open the womb as His own possession. To eat bread without leaven for seven days is to acknowledge what God sanctifies unto Himself as an ordinance forever. These commandments are for a memorial to the strong hand of the Lord in our life, to direct our actions in accordance with His ways, not our own ability.

Exodus 13:1-8, (abbreviated).  The Lord spoke to Moses; sanctify unto me all the firstborn…remember this day you came out of Egypt, for the Lord brought you out with a strong hand, therefore you shall not eat with leaven….for seven days…and you shall tell your son in that day “This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when he brought me out of Egypt. 

Exodus 13:14, 15.   And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, what is this? You shall say unto him, with a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the house of slavery…..therefore I sacrifice to the Lord every male that opens the womb but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.                                 

The Lord displays His strong hand in judgment against the strength of man as a display of sovereignty.

1 Corinthians 1:25.   “For the weakness of God is stronger than men.”      

This perception of man invested in the first born male is clearly understood in the words of Jacob in his final blessing upon his sons.

Genesis 49:3.  Reuben you, my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.                                     

“The beginning of my strength” is the expression of a man’s virility.            

Psalm 105:36.  He smote all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength. 

On the other hand, God displays His might and the beginning of His strength in creation:

Isaiah 40:26.  Lift up your eyes on high and behold who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one fails.                  

Moreover, this perception of the firstborn male is an expression of the pride of man. In this context, the Lord invests Israel before the witness of Pharaoh (the false man-god) with a severe warning:

Exodus 4:22&23.  And you shall say unto Pharaoh, thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn, and I say unto you; let my son go that he may serve me, and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, your firstborn.      

The priesthood became exclusive to the tribe of Levi after the golden calf incident, and as a result, they took the place of the firstborn redeemed of the Lord.

Numbers 3:12 & 13.  Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that open the womb from among the children of Israel, therefore the Levites shall be mine because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast, mine shall they be: I am the Lord.                                                                                                  

The census established the number of Levite males qualified to serve with Aaron in the priesthood, the sons of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The census of the firstborn males totaled 273 souls above that of the qualified Levite males, and these were redeemed by a five shekel per man redemption price.

In modern day Israel, the government mints a five shekel coin that can be purchased for a family to commemorate a son as the firstborn, by natural childbirth. Family restrictions in some countries, birth control, abortion and cesarean birth all restrict the number of firstborn males who open the womb, and thus the church of the firstborn.

Take heed to understand that the church is not exclusive to firstborn males of natural childbirth, but the number establishes a limit to the fullness. 

God has taken for Himself the firstborn reflecting the fact that the Son of God is the firstborn of all creation, as well the firstborn from the dead.

Luke 21:24.  For Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the gentiles until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled.                                                                                   

Romans 11:25. For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 

Thus these prophetic scriptures apply to the gentiles, and this age has an established end.

Born Again From Above

John 13:20.  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

John 6:29.  Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.

The Testimony of John

John 3:27-36.  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but, I have been sent before Him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

James 1:17.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

You Must Be Born Again

John 3:3.  Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 8:23.  And Jesus said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

Colossians 3:1-3.   If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are from above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Romans 12:2.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

John 7:17.   If anyone is willing to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or I speak on My own.

The Doctrine of Christ

John 5:19, 20.  Then Jesus answered and said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son does nothing of Himself, but what He has seen the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

Matthew 5:8 . Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

2 John 9.  Whoever goes on (without seeing God) and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

Matthew 11:27.  All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and to whom the Son wills to reveal.

John 6:63. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

Romans 8:11-14.  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors; not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

The Testimony of the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 2:9-16.  But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But God is revealed to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

John 3:18  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe are condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 5:25, 26.  Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.

The Father Has Exalted The Son

1 John 5:5.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John 5:10.  He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

1 John 4:15.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

John 20:31.   These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John 13:16, 17.  Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

He who Abides in the Holy Spirit Has The Father and The Son

1 John 2:6.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk as He walked.

Galatians 5:16.   I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 

The Gifts of The Spirit Edify the Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:7   To each person is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the benefit of all.

Galatians 5:22-25.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

James 3:17.   The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

FALSE PROPHETS

People often speak of “war and rumors of war”, as well as global disasters as being signs of the end time. I would ask you today to look with fresh eyes and consider the Lord’s heart in this regard.

Matthew 24:1.  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to Him to show him the buildings of the temple.

At the end of a busy day,  Jesus and his disciples find a quiet place, and they simply comment on the view of the temple mount. The Lord surprises them with a very precise and shocking prophecy.

Mt. 24:2.  And Jesus said unto them,  See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.         

Jesus has mentioned a few times that He would face rejection and death in Jerusalem, but now He speaks of God’s soon judgment on the city and they immediately make a jump in their own minds that this pertains to the end of the age.

Mt. 24:3.  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?     

We know that most of the Lord’s followers would have lived to see the destruction of the temple, this event was not a herald of the end times. While the questions reveal what was on their hearts, only the Lord’s answers can show us His priorities.

Mt. 24:4.  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you 

Now if we pause here in the discourse and ask the question, “what do you think was the Lord’s primary concern regarding the subject of signs and the end of the age? Your answer should be that He was concerned with deceptive teachings that would come forth in this regard. Did He not once say this concerning signs:

Matthew 16:4.    A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.

He continues the discourse by elaborating on the subject of deceptions, not signs.

Mt. 24:5.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

To be clear here, the Lord is not talking about anyone claiming to be the Messiah. Anyone who comes “in His name”, are claiming to be legitimate ambassadors speaking on His behalf.  The claim “I am Christ”, should be translated: “I am anointed”, because christos means anointed, and this is a claim that every false teacher, preacher and prophet is making these days. This is more than a sign of the end times, this is a caution for the wise follower to avoid being deceived.

Mt. 24:5.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 

These words “the end is not yet” should be enough to convince you that quoting “wars and rumors of wars” as if to imply that the end of the age is upon us is to greatly discredit your understanding.

Mt. 24:7.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Yada, yada, yada….
Mt:24:8.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  

Now this is something to consider. This expression of early birth pangs says a lot about being misinformed. Most people know that you don’t rush to the hospital with the first contractions of birth. Couples are coached to time contractions to be sure that labor has begun. However, there are still occasions where an expectant mother is rushed to a hospital, only to return later that evening saying; “false alarm”. A good possibility is that  greater awareness avoids reacting inappropriately to the beginning of sorrows.

Mt. 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  .

Again with the warnings and concerns over being deceived.

Mt. 24:12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

This verse uses the word agape for love and therefore cannot be interpreted as a state of the world we live. Only believers can know the agape love of God, and only believers can lose their “first love” and fall away due to lawlessness (iniquity) within the church.

2 Thessalonians 2:3  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.

This is why Jesus now says:

Mt. 24:13.   But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

There are two verses I will now post for consideration on this topic.

Luke 21:24.  And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until “the times of the Gentiles” are fulfilled.

Notice that this is the “the end of the age” for the Gentiles, and the sovereignty of Jerusalem is a legitimate point of inquiry.

Romans 11:25.  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should  be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Again with the Gentiles in the age we now occupy. With a growing number of Jews in Israel who see the historical Jesus (Yeshua) as the Son of God and Messiah, we draw closer to a true remnant in the promised land. Another reality worthy of attention.

Matthew 24:24.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Let me speak frankly to younger readers. Years ago, few preachers claimed to be anointed or to have “the anointing”. Now, essentially everyone on television, radio or otherwise makes this claim. They are the same people who love to talk about “the signs of the end times” in Matthew 24, without realizing they are fulfilling prophecy in so stating.

Galatians 3:29.  And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

The text of Galatians 3:29 begins “de ei hymeis christos”, and the word christos means anointed, thus “if you are anointed” (or claim to be). Compare this to Matthew 24:5: For many shall come in my name saying I am anointed (christos) and shall deceive many.

This is why Jesus said, “you will know them by their fruit”, not who they claim to be as testimony of themselves. This is an antichrist spirit that had already manifested in the first century church.

1 John 2:18.  Little children it is the last time and as you have heard that antichrist shall come even now are there many antichrists whereby we know that is the last time.

Now please consider what Paul is saying:

2 Corinthians 10:7: Do you look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is anointed let him of himself think this again, that as he is anointed even so are we anointed.

Among the first century church there already were many preaching “in that name” and claiming an anointing to do so, and yet they were contradicting what Paul and his companions were preaching!

I implore you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ:

1 John 4:1.   Beloved believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

FACE TO FACE

Genesis 32:30.  So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”                                      

After wrestling with an angel all night, Jacob experiences being “caught up” by the Spirit of the Lord.

My Life is preserved =Nephesh Natsal. 

Nephesh is most frequently translated soul.

Barak YHVH nephesh=Psalm 103.  Bless the Lord, O my soul.                 

Natsal is most frequently translated delivered.

Shamar Nephesh Natsal=  Psalm 25:20.  O keep my soul and deliver me.     

Natsal literally means to be snatched up and carried away from danger.

The Lord Our Deliverer gives us this assurance.

John 10.   My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.                      

When the scribes translated Genesis 32:30 into Greek in the Septuagint, ‘my life is preserved’ is rendered  sozo ego psuche.  In apostolic writings, this expression is most likely rendered as ‘saved my soul’.  Even better is to translate, ‘my life is made whole’. 

To come face to face with God is to ‘experience’ salvation and remission from sin.

 Luke 1:77.  To give ‘knowledge of salvation’ to His people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”                                                   

Remission of sin is deliverance from the carnal nature.

Romans 7.  O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.                 

Romans 8.   For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.       

To ‘experience’ the ‘knowledge of salvation’ brings clarity to Romans 7, to enjoy the ‘Spirit of Liberty’ in the remission of sin described in Romans 8.

To come face to face with God is to be enraptured.

2 Corinthians 12.   I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.  And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.                                                             

This being ‘caught up’ in Greek: harpazo;  is used to describe the experience of Philip in Acts 8.  Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 

And ultimately, by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The ultimate personal experience in devotion to the Lord is face to face.

Hebrew: pahneem pahneem;  Greek: prosopon pros prosopon. 

Numbers 12.  When there is a prophet I reveal Myself to in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses. He is faithful in all My house, I speak with him face to face, plainly and not in riddles.   

Faithful to The House of God 

Hebrews 3:5, 6. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.  

Come Before His Face,=Come Into His Presence   

Hebrews 4.    Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Growing In Grace  From The Glory  

1 Corinthians 13:12.   For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known. 

2 Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (metamorpho=transfigured)  into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

A Friend of God

Exodus 33:11.  So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. 

John 15. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.                 

The Spirit of Meekness

The Spirit of Meekness manifests when the human spirit is yoked to the Holy Spirit, in obedience. To be directed by the Voice of the Lord.

The Gospel is unto the Meek

Isaiah 61:1.  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.

Psalm 22:26. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live forever.

Psalm 25:9. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

Psalm 37:11. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Psalm 76:8 & 9. You did cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.

Psalm 147:6. The Lord lifts up the meek: he casts the wicked down to the ground.

Psalm 149:4. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation.

Isaiah 11:4.  With righteousness He shall  judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.

Isaiah 29:19.  The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

The Apostle Paul and the Spirit of Meekness

2 Corinthians 10:1.   I entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.

Galatians 5:22 & 23.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 6:1  if anyone is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore them in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself lest you be tempted.   

Ephesians 4:1-3. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 3:12-14.  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a quarrel against one: even as Christ forgave you, so also do.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.

Titus 3:2.  Speak evil of no man, be not a brawler. But be gentle, showing meekness unto all.

1 Timothy 6:11. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life.

2 Timothy 2:24-26. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

We can only serve like Moses in the spirit of meekness.

Numbers 12:3.  Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. 

Psalm 45:4.  In your majesty ride victoriously, on behalf of truth, meekness and justice.  Let your right hand display awesome things. 

Zephaniah 2:3. Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.

Meekness in the Healing Ministry

Hebrews 3:1-6 compares the Lord Jesus Christ as the High Priest of our profession to the faithfulness of Moses in shepherding Israel through the wilderness. Quoting the Lord in Numbers 12, Moses is said to have been “faithful in all My House”.

Hebrews 3:5 & 6. And Moses was truly faithful in all His house as a servant for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.                                                                                                   

Statements with the word “if” are not the most popular among many believers but Jesus himself said:

Matthew 24:13.  But he who endures unto the end shall be saved.        

The admonition is then repeated: 

Hebrews 3:14. for we are made partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.                                   

Hebrews 3:15  While it is said; today if you will hear his voice harden not your hearts as in the provocation. 

Now quoting from Psalm 95 and again comparing the body of Christ to the “church in the wilderness”.

When Hebrews 3:5 says that Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, a unique Greek word is used, and translating as “a servant” clouds the importance of this statement.

The word doulos is used over 100 times in the New Testament to convey the idea of being a bondservant or purchased slaves of Christ. This one time the word therapon is used which means an attendant. This is the word from which is derived therapeia and the English word therapy. As the therapon to the church in the wilderness Moses attended to the needs of the people, in particular, to maintain a right relationship with the Spirit of the Lord.

To have a zeal for the church and body of Christ, we are being called like Moses to be faithful in all his house. The significance of this statement is only understood from the visitation of the Lord in Numbers 12.

Numbers 12:6-8. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all My house. With him will I speak face to face, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

Hebrews goes on to say that now we all can come boldly before the throne of grace. We have the same access, the same opportunity to come into the Lord’s presence. After spending time in the sanctuary of the Lord we can speak without presumptuous error and offence. We can be faithful in all his house. Consider now the application of this word study to a correct understanding of this teaching of Christ Jesus.

Luke 12:42.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his lord will make ruler(?) over his household (therapeia) to give them meat in due  season?

To properly understand Jesus when he teaches on stewardship we must always remember his statements “the words that I speak to you are spirit and life” and “the flesh profits nothing”.

The concern here is not flesh, Jesus said:

John 4:32-34. “I have meat to eat that you know not of, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me.”                                                           

Jesus is seeking elect stewards like Moses who can be faithful in all his house, to see to the spiritual health of the congregation. To be a therapon to provide therapeia (healing) for the body of Christ.  As the two other uses of the word therapeia in Luke 9:11 and Revelations 22:2, where the word is translated healing. Does the Lord want us to rule people or heal people?

Luke 9:11.  And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received  them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. 

Revelation 22:2.   On either side of the river was a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 

The Standard

The Greek word stauros means ‘stake’, ‘pole’ or ‘post’; but it is always  translated ‘cross’ in the New Testament. When a banner or image is attached to a pole, it becomes a standard. This is the imagery from the Old Testament that Yeshua uses to teach on His purpose.

John 3:14, 15. And as Moses lifted up the (brass) serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  

John 12:31-33. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death He should die.

Following the Standard

Mark 8:34.  When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

This statement makes no sense until translating stauros correctly, and becomes ‘pulls up his stakes and follows me’. Now we find a statement familiar in all ages as an expression of someone leaving his permanent dwelling to follow the Lord. This has been The Standard from the origins of Messiah.

Genesis 12:1.   Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.

Hebrews 11:8-10.   By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;  for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.   

The Heavenly Hope

Luke 9:62.  But Yeshua said to him, “No one who has put his hand to the plow and looked back is fit for the kingdom of God.”   

Hebrews 11:13-16.   These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly homeland. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

1 Peter 2:11.   Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.    

Revelation 12:11. They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death.   

 Hebrews 12:4.   You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

To abstain is only accomplished by abiding in the promised Holy Spirit.

Three testimonies from 1 John 3:

Whoever abides in Him does not sin. V.6.

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. V.9.

Now those who keep His commandments abide in Him, and He in them. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit He has given us. V.24.

The Standard of Christ is love

 SS 2:4.   He brought me to the banquet house and his banner (standard) over me is love. 

 1 John 3:14, 16.  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love abides in death.  By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.           

To make the cross an icon of the church is to repeat what Israel did with the bronze serpent from the wilderness. It became an idol in Israel which was destroyed by Hezekiah hundreds of years later.

2 Kings 18:4.     He removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan (that brass thing).

 Exodus 20:4.  You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.   

The Cross represents The Standard for Paul

1 Corinthians 1:18. For the message of ‘The Standard’ is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Galatians 5:11.   As for me, brothers and sisters, if I still proclaim circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the stumbling block of  ‘The Standard’ has been eliminated. 

Galatians 6:12.  Those wanting to look good outwardly are trying to force you to be circumcised—only so they will not be persecuted for ‘The Standard’ of Messiah.

 Galatians 6:14.  But God forbid that I should glory, save in ‘The Standard’ of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  

Philippians 2:8.  He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, death now ‘The Standard’.   

Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of ‘The Standard’ of Christ.   

The Standard for Life: Crucified with Christ

Romans 6:5-7.   For if we have become joined together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also will be joined together in His resurrection,  knowing our old man was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be done away with, so we no longer serve sin.  For he who has died is set free from sin.  

Galatians 5:24.  Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 2:20.   I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me.  

Romans 6:22.  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Revelation 20:6.  Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 

The Standard Banner of Salvation

Zechariah 9:16.  The Lord their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land.

Isaiah 59:19. When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

Psalm 60:4.   You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed for the truth.

Isaiah 11:10.  And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.

Isaiah 62:10.  Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.

Isaiah 49:22   Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.