Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy.

Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.

In honor, giving preference to one another.

Fervent in spirit, not lagging in diligence; serving the Lord.

Rejoicing in hope.

Patient in tribulation.

Continuing steadfastly in prayer.

Distributing to the needs of the saints.

Given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Repay no one evil for evil.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Be of the same mind toward one another.

Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.

Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:9-18.

Image and Likeness

I have been very puzzled these past couple of weeks about why so much emphasis on male and female? The Holy Spirit quickened in my spirit where this notion comes from in the interpretation of the Bible.

Okay, so the creation story says:

God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.     Genesis 1:27.

Applying some sort of logic we arrive at, a) God created mankind male and female. b)God created mankind in His own image. c) therefore, God is male and female, and the attributes of God can be classified as male and female.

I find this logic to be false because, a) the statement can just as easily be interpreted that both male and female were created in the image of God, without God divvying up Himself between male and female; b) divine attributes of God can not easily or coherently be divided into male and female, as revealed by His Name and mentioned before to be considered the divine attributes in Rabbinical teaching:

Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”                                                                  Exodus 34:5-7.

and c) we have a deeper revelation in Christ, and that God is perfecting us in spirit, into the Image of His Son By the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord.

 

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.                    2 Corinthians 3:17.

In Christ, by the Spirit of the Lord, there is no male and female. I find that very liberating!

I would now like to go ahead and explain what I have come to understand by being: the image and likeness of God.

Jumping in at the seventh day we find:

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Genesis 2:3.

So why does the scripture say “God created and made”. Going back to the beginning to that famous verse:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1.   

“The heaven and the earth”, is called a merism, and means to combine two contrasting words to denote an entirety.

In the beginning can easily be translated, “at first” or “The first thing God did was create everything.”

Then He proceeded to make it. How did He proceed? By speaking. (what, never heard that one before? me either, the Holy Spirit showed me.)

So what does it mean to create? Creativity is in the imagination. The sculptor sees the completed work in the block of marble with his imagination, only then does he proceed to work. In what way is man most like God and distinguished from the rest of creation.  1. The power to speak, which is huge because God displayed the power to make so much simply by speaking, after creating it all in His imagination.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21.

Secondly, we have the power of imagination, to be creative, does that not make us after God’s image. Why did the first judgment come after 600 years?

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5.

My understanding is profoundly satisfied by the notion that the image of God is conveyed by our ability to imagine, to create ideas and then convey them through the power of speech. This is why what we say is so important that Jesus said:

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.                     Matthew 12:36,37.

Striving to speak the truth in love.

The Effect to Righteousness

The work of righteousness will be peace,                                                                                  And the effect of righteousness,                                                                                                    quietness and assurance forever.                                                                                                                        Isaiah 32:17

“The effect” Hebrew avodah [H5656] literally-service.

Used 44 times in the book Numbers alone, primarily to describe service toward God’s tabernacle performed by the Priests and Levites, as well as prohibition of all work on a Sabbath.

The derivation is from man’s original calling: to serve.

Avad [H5647] to serve. (21 times in Numbers)

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15.

And after the Fall:

Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. Genesis 3:23.

This quickly devolved into servitude of man to man.

Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. Genesis 14:4.

Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. Genesis 15:3.

And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.  Exodus 1:14.

This was to prepare them for a life of service to God.

So He said, “I will surely be with you. So that will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt: you will serve God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12.

We serve the Lord with the heart of a stranger and sojourner in this world.

Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.                                                                                     Exodus 23:9.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.                                     Psalm 39:12.

These all died in faith without receiving the things promised—but they saw them and welcomed them from afar, and they confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth.                                                                                                                                   Hebrews 11:13.

 

You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of memorial was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not.                                              Malachi 3:14-18.

Superpowers of the Millennium

In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the earth.  For Adonai-Tzva’ot has blessed, saying:      “Blessed is Egypt My people,  and Assyria My handiwork,    and Israel My inheritance.”  Isaiah 19:24&25.

The land of Assyria figured prominently throughout the Old Testament, and has emerged to play a pivotal role on the world stage. The Assyrian empire ranged from what is today eastern Turkey, across northern Syria and Iraq, into northwest Iran. This entire region, though separated geo-politically, is loosely united by the populations of ethnic Kurds that occupy the “land of Assyria”.

The Kurdish controlled areas in northern Iraq are of particular interest for the oil reserves found there. Ideally, this oil would be brought directly to the eastern Mediterranean by pipeline across the Syrian desert. Instability in this country and Lebanon currently prevent that from being accomplished. The warfare in this region will soon settle this issue, as the presence of Hezbollah in Lebanon is an intolerable situation for Israel, and will soon be resolved by force of arms.

Ephraim feeds on wind, and follows after the east wind: he daily increases lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. Hosea 12:1.

To the south, Egypt has had peaceful relations with Israel for a generation, and will benefit greatly from this relationship. They will prosper from Israel’s relationship with the west, as they will eventually control the seaport that will become the center of global trade.

Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.                             Isaiah 23:8&9.

Consider the role that this city of Tyre has played in Biblical history. When Solomon built the first Temple, material support was provided from the ruler of Tyre. When Ezra built the second temple, he received material support from the ruler of Tyre also. Will they play a pivotal role at the end of the age?

And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.                  Isaiah 23:17&18.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.  Revelations 18:3.

The great Mediterranean seaports of Tyre and Sidon are included in the land of promise. The center of global trade in the time of the Phoenicians, an enabler for Solomon’s global ambitions, and soon to be the prize of a coming war in the middle east. Sidon was the first born son of Canaan, the man cursed by Noah. Tyre was named for the daughter of Sidon. The Bible is the only source for a true understanding of history, the present, and the future.

The main point to draw from this discourse is to avoid deception in the mind of believers. The coming war in the middle east will not be the end of the world or a sign for the return of the Son of man. This is a necessary step in man’s inglorious history to fulfill all righteousness. The time of the gentiles in the only age that is coming to a close. The three nations of God will be the center of our history going forward. Remain faithful.

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

This is Eternal Life

He said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, so the Son may glorify You.  Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, so may He give eternal life to all those You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, the One You sent.                                                                                      John 17:1-3.

How do we come to know God and obtain this eternal life? The ones we know; we recognize their voice. When someone who knows me well calls on the telephone, they say “Hey, it’s me”, and I don’t have to ask “Who dat”?

The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.  John 10:4.

Whether we are listening to the spoken Word or studying devotionals, praising God or meditating in His presence, the one goal remains constant: to know His voice. One of the earliest ways that the priesthood referred to the Lord was “The Voice.”

And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking unto him from above the ark-cover that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and He spoke unto him.                         Numbers 7:89, JPS Tanakh.

The Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, the voice of the Spirit. The world will tell you that you are suffering from auditory hallucinations if you claim to hear this voice. However, scientists that study brain wave activity in people during these episodes find that the voices are processed in a different area of the brain from normal auditory stimuli. The point of this is that we can listen to the Word of God being read aloud, and hear the voice of the Spirit as a living commentary on what is being read if we abide in the Spirit. Haven’t you had the Lord drop something into your spirit while listening to preaching?

He has made manifest His Word through preaching. Titus 1:3.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.               1  Corinthians 1:21.

How then shall they call on the One in whom they have not trusted? And how shall they trust in the One they have not heard of? And how shall they hear without someone proclaiming? And how shall they proclaim unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim good news of good things!”                  Romans 10:14&15.

This is why the message must not deviate from what was presented by the first apostles.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no benefit. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life. John 6:63.

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment. John 16:7&8.

It is always the work of the Holy Spirit to convict someone to repentance. This is why Paul said:

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with excellence of speech or wisdom, proclaiming to you the mystery of God. For I decided not to know about anything among you except Yeshua the Messiah and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.  My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  so that your faith would not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.                        1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

The public reading of scripture is a true tradition of the Witnesses of Israel.

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to encouragement, and to teaching. 1 Timothy 4:13.

The Message of the Messiah must register to the listener through the Voice of the Spirit, not our own. In this knowledge of God is the continual blessing.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Rev. 1:3.

Abide in Truth

Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!”   John 8:31&32.

Greek: meno[G3306]-to abide, remain, continue, endures.

Don’t work for food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him, God the Father has put the seal of approval.” John 6:27.

An abiding Joy:

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.                                                                                                                                   John 15:11.

Abide in Liberty:

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.                                                                                             1 John 3:9.

Abide in Love:

Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love!                                John 15:9.

Abide in Light:

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46.

Abide in the Father and the Son:

Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.             1 John 2:24.

From Above

Yeshua answered him, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3.

To be born from above means to receive (the spirit of) life from the very Source of Life.

The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaks. The One who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, He testifies to that; yet no one receives His testimony.Whoever receives His testimony has certified that God is true.The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Ruach without limit.The Father loves the Son and has given everything into His hand. He who trusts in the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:31-36.

The eternal life from above is available now and received by trust (acts of faith, not mental assent); it is not an “after death experience”.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. By His will, He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created. James 1:17&18.

Yeshua said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. If you don’t believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” John 8:23&24.

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

Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above—where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of God. Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. Colossians 3:1-3.

Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct let him show his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth.This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, nonspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil practice.But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in shalom by those who make shalom. James 3:13-18.

But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Ruach, let us also walk by the Ruach. Let us not become conceited—provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26.

But to each person is given the manifestation of the Ruach for the benefit of all. For to one is given through the Ruach a word of wisdom, to another a word of knowledge according to the same Ruach, to another faith by the same Ruach, to another gifts of healings by the one Ruach,  to another workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Ruach activates all these things, distributing to each person individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:17.

So then, brothers and sisters, we do not owe anything to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Ruach you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For all who are led by the Ruach Elohim, these are sons of God. Romans 8:12-14.