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.

Abide in Mercy

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.    Isaiah 55:3.

This promise is found in 2 Samuel:

When your days are done and you sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your seed, who will come forth from you after you, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for My Name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me.  If he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and with the strokes from sons of men.  Yet My lovingkindness will not be withdrawn from him as I withdrew it from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  So your house and your kingship will be secure forever before you; your throne will be established forever.”  2 Samuel 7:12-16.

These glad tidings are proclaimed to the church in Acts 13.

And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children in that He has raised up Jesus again, as it is written in the second psalm, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you,  (Psalms 2:7.)   And as concerning that He raised him up from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He said: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.”                       Acts 13:32-34.

The covenant of steadfast love for David is a covenant of parental correction unto the perfection of obedience. What you have done is not as important as how you respond to God’s correction. We must look for his approval in all things.

This doctrine is discussed in Hebrews 12 and based on 2 Samuel 7.

For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. Hebrews 12:6.

Consider this house of David known as Ephrathites. Ephrathah was a Hebrew woman who became the wife of Caleb, the faithful servant to Moses. Caleb was not a Hebrew, but is identified as a Kenizzite.  Caleb was granted the region of Hebron by Moses for his faithful witness with Joshua after the scouting expedition. David’s grandmother was Ruth the Moabite. The city of Bethlehem Ephrathah was the city of Joseph and the birthplace of the Messiah. David ruled from Hebron for seven years until the elders of Israel came and acknowledged him as their king.

The line of Caleb is listed in the Chronicle genealogies with the tribe of Judah by a process known as grafting in, the same terminology Paul uses in Romans 11 to describe the gentile relationship to natural Israel. Through the house of David the wall of partition between Jew and gentile is broken down and finds fulfillment in Christ Jesus. For all the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ. (2 Co 1:20.)

Behold, you shall conceive and bring forth a son and shall call him Jesus. He shall be exalted and called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end.             Luke 1:31-33.

For unto us a child is born unto a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder…. Of the increase of his government and peace no end upon the throne of David…the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6&7.

The one true church is the house of David and the Lord Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the throne of majesty to fulfill all righteousness. Peter informs us that heaven has received Him until the restoration of all things spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began. (Peter’s sermon from Acts 3:12-26.)

The restoration of all things refers to the throne of David in Israel. This process will not be complete until the final day (1000 years).

And I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, my servant David, he shall feed them and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord shall be their God and David a prince among them. I the Lord have spoken it and I will make with them a covenant of peace.                        Ezekiel 34:23-31.

And David my servant shall be king over them and they shall all have one shepherd over them…and they shall dwell in the land I have given to Jacob my servant… and David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant…and I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.                                        Ezekiel 37:24-28.

The covenant of peace (berit shalom, also translated covenant of friendship), was originally bestowed on the house of Phineas, the son of Eleazar, in Numbers 25:10-13; and will be granted to all Israel, in Israel, at the end of the time of the gentiles.

Now consider the most referenced Old Testament passage in the New Testament to bring all this to a fine point. In the gospels Jesus proposes this question concerning the Messiah: Whose son is he? The teachers responded that he is the son of David. Jesus then silences them with this statement.

How is it that David in spirit calls him Lord saying The Lord said unto my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool (Psalm 110), if David calls him Lord, how is he his son? Matthew 22:41-46.

This Psalm is also referenced by Peter in Acts 2:33-35. In the letter to the Hebrews we find another reference:

But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sin forever sat down at the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting until his enemies are made his footstool.          Hebrews 10:12-14.

Most importantly, follow Paul’s explanation of the final restitution of all things:

Then comes the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He has put all things under his feet. But when he says all things are under him it is clear that the exception is He that put all things under him. And when all things are subdued under him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto Him that put everything under him, that God may be all, in all.                                                                            1 Corinthians 15:24-28.

Note that the Son is subject to God the Father. The perceived equality between the Son and Father is based on the equality of granted authority. This is foreshadowed in Genesis 41 pertaining to the relationship between Joseph and Pharaoh.

“You shall be over my house and according unto your word shall all my people be ruled, only in the throne will I be greater than you.”           Genesis 41:40-44.

To serve Joseph was to serve Pharaoh, to dishonor Joseph was to dishonor Pharaoh.  Compare this to the self-testimony of Jesus in John 5.

For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son; that all should honor the Son as they honor the Father. He that does not honor the Son honors not the Father who sent him. (Doctrine of Christ). John 5:22&23.

This is the final restitution of all things spoken of by the prophets by the Spirit of Christ that was in them:

The time of the gentiles will soon be fulfilled as the fullness of the gentiles is a finite point in time. The end of the age and the new heaven and new earth  and the everlasting righteousness of the kingdom of God and Christ comes after all his enemies are under his feet, and the final enemy is death.

In the millennial kingdom of the house of David, people live long prosperous lives, but not eternal lives:

One who dies at 100 will be as if a child, but a sinner of 100 years will know they are cursed. Isaiah 65:20.

During the 1000 year reign the law of God will be enforced from Jerusalem and the word of God will come forth from mount Zion. Isaiah 2:3.

And after these 1000 years there will be one final rebellion. Sin will continue during the millennium and will be dealt with by the law. Satan will be bound and man will know that there is a sin nature in him that cannot be blamed on “the devil made me do it” (Revelation 20). Sinners will chafe under the law of God for 1000 years. This is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, for after the glorious 40 year reign of Solomon, a kingdom like no other on earth, the people rebelled, complaining of the severity of his reign.

The sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burning?  Isaiah 33:13-17.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.  Revelation 14:12.

By your endurance, you will gain your souls.  Luke 21:19.

 

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.

The First and Greatest In Christ

 

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul with all your understanding and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. Mark 12:30.

 

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus who became for us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30.

 

Redemption is necessary for the Lord to be your strength. To love the Lord with your all is to receive from Him and to give only what has been given. The fullness of this redemption comes in the day of the Lord.

And when these things begin to come to pass then look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draws near. Luke 21:28.

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together up to the present time. And not only this but also we ourselves having the first fruits of the Spirit groan within ourselves waiting eagerly for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans chapter 8, verses 19, 22 and 23.

In whom we have redemption through His blood for the remission of sin according to the riches of His grace. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise which is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:14.

John (the Baptist) answered and said, “No one can possess anything except it is given to them from heaven. He that comes from above is above all, he that is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. He that comes from heaven is above all. He that receives His testimony has set to his seal that God is true. John 3:27-36.

To love the Lord with all your heart requires the wisdom that comes from above. When the Lord told Solomon to request whatsoever he desired, he asked for a hearing heart to have the wisdom to rule God’s people. The wisdom of God overcomes all opposition to the Truth.

For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. Luke 21:15.

And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Acts 6:10.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory. We speak not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches.  1 Corinthians 2:6 & 7.

The wisdom that is from above is first pure then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruit without partiality and without hypocrisy.      James 3:17.

The love the Lord with all your soul requires the righteousness of God in Christ. Only those who hunger and thirst after righteousness can attain the blessedness of a satisfied soul. The Greek word translated soul is also translated life forty times. The righteousness of God requires that we love the Lord with all our life. Again, this culminates in the day of the Lord.

He that finds his life (soul) shall lose it and he that loses his life (soul) for my sake shall find it. Mt 10:39.

Therefore I say unto you: take no thought for your soul, what you will eat, or for your body, what you will wear. The soul is more than food and the body more than clothing. Therefore seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:25-34.

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17.

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Galatians 5:5.

And fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28.

For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26.

In your patience possess your souls. Luke 21:19.

To love the Lord with all your understanding requires sanctification from all worldly influences. This first requires some clarification for the Greek word dianoia translated as understanding in Mark 12:30. This word denotes “the means to attaining understanding” or to rightly comprehend a truth. Paul refers to “the eyes of your understanding” in Ephesians 1:18, and then refers to those who are alienated from the life of God as having their way of comprehension darkened resulting in “blindness of their hearts”. Ephesians 4:18.

Jesus said: “If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness! Mt. 6:23.

This follows from Jesus warning his disciples to avoid the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. Luke 12:1. The teachings of the Pharisees was the very thing that Paul had to renounce from his education to walk in the Spirit. Jesus prayed in this regard for all who would follow Him.

Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth. John 17:17.

Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:8.

To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan unto God that they may receive remission of sin and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me. Acts 26:18.

And let this be a prayer for you today:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Th. 5:23.

A Lover not a Grumbler

Be a lover of hospitality. Titus 1:8.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9.

For many people the mention of hospitality calls to mind Martha Stewart more than the gospels. While it is worthy to mention the value of opening your home to others, there is a bit more being conveyed in these words. The word being translated hospitality actually means loving kindness to strangers. And the word strangers refers to resident aliens, minorities, and sojourners in the land. In other words, these scriptures are dealing with the age old problem of ethnicity, prejudice and racism. Do you really think that will ever be properly dealt with outside of Christ?

To demonstrate this truth, let’s start with a narrative from Luke 17 where Jesus is met by 10 lepers seeking their healing. He orders them to go show themselves to the priests. As they departed they discover that they have been cleansed and one of them returns to glorify God in giving thanks before the Lord’s feet, and he was a Samaritan. Jesus comments “there are none found that returned to give glory to God, besides this stranger.” Luke 17:18. The Samaritans were the despised people living among the most despised people in history, and are enshrined in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ by the words “Good Samaritan”. These strangers stand out among the members of society by whose treatment the Lord will judge the nations. Matthew 25:31-46.

So what does the Law and the Prophets have to say about this thorny topic? Let’s consider this survey:

You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21.

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.

The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34.

One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord.  One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you. Numbers 15:14, 15.

He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.  Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deut. 10:18, 19.

Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak saying “The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants. Even them I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.  The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.”                    Isaiah 56:1-8.

Thus says the Lord: “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3.

The people of the land have used oppression, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.    Ezekiel 22:29.

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:5.

So we see beyond the prophets condemning society’s injustice, a Law given to Moses that was acutely concerned for the rights of strangers. How then did this wall of separation come to exist that Paul speaks of in his letter to the Ephesians chapter 2?

At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Verse 12.

How could this be true when the Law of Moses had made every accommodation for the foreigner who desired to seek the Lord? In verse 15 he says that the enmity was created by the law of commandments in ordinances: nomos entole en dogma. This expression refers to what Jesus referred to as the traditions and rules of men undermining the Word of God. Because of the mutual hatred and distrust that existed between the Jew and all of the neighboring societies, no Jew would even sit at a table and eat a meal with a gentile. This is something that even the apostle Peter was called out on by Paul, the apostle for the gentiles. In contrast, Jesus always ate with publicans and sinners.

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” Galatians 2:11-14.

Even though he had fully embraced the gentile as a fellow believer when the Lord had given him a vision that corrected his views in Acts chapter 10, his fear of men resulted in hypocrisy.

Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful (Pharisee) it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Acts 10:28.

And finally he concludes:

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him. V. 34, 35.

As an elder of the first church in Jerusalem, Peter was fully acclimated to the complications of a Jewish/gentile fellowship. When he wrote in his letter to show hospitality without grumbling, the word used is more often translated murmuring. This grumbling or murmuring began early on in the church.

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Acts 6:1.

Note the clear racial overtones to the situation at hand. The solution the apostles came up with to deal with the problem was to have the congregation choose for themselves seven men to appoint over the administrative duties.

The apostle Paul recalls for us in 1 Corinthians 10 how murmuring and complaining was the “original sin” of the congregation in the wilderness. The people had just passed through the Red Sea and witnessed a great deliverance when they soon were murmuring against God and Moses.

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, what shall we drink? Exodus 15:24.

 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: Exodus 16:2.

Now in their defense I would point out that they had traveled three days in the wilderness and not found any fresh water. Most Christians have murmured and complained about far less. The point is that this is far more serious than most give consideration.

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11.

When Paul says that this is the issue where the ends of the ages meet, he was ushering in the end of the age of justification by works of the Law and bringing in the age of justification by grace.

 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17.

But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 1 Corinthians 10:5, 6.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom He swore  that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  Hebrews 3:14-19.

In other words, regardless of the covenant, grumbling and complaining are an offense to God and will be considered an act of unbelief.  And now we can look to Abram to complete the picture and find the purpose. Paul taught that Abram was the father of justification by faith, for when he was told his offspring would be as the stars of heaven, he believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. James pointed out that Abraham later proved his faith by offering his son Isaac in obedience to God. But in Hebrews we are reminded that the first great act of faith, without which nothing else would have followed, was his departure from his home land.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went… he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country…for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God… and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:8-16, highlights.

James wrote that true religion is to care for widows and orphans and to keep ourselves unspotted by the world.  James 1:27

Why then does he not mention strangers along with widows and orphans as the Law of Moses and the prophets do so often? Because we are called to be the stranger, the pilgrim, the sojourner in this world. We cannot conform to this world and expect to be translated into a heavenly homeland. A community church may compromise to be inoffensive and socially acceptable, but any individual who hopes to go from the called to the chosen, or elect; must be willing to step outside that comfort zone. To set hands on the plow and not look back until you have completed your course and remain faithful. Here is how:

Do all things without murmuring and disputing, That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.                    Philippians 2:14-16.

 

Bearing Our Burden

  Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Gal. 6:2.                                    For each one shall bear his own burden. Gal. 6:5.

The word translated burdens in verse 2 is used in Acts chapter 15 to describe the burden placed on the Jews of a covenant by the Law of Moses. First Peter speaks:

Now therefore why tempt God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? Acts 15:10.

James then summarizes the discussion and dictates a letter to the gentiles in which he concludes:

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things. Acts 15:28.

The expression “to shoulder a burden” is a very prominent one in the bible, even though “a yoke upon the neck” used in Acts 15:10 is more accurate to the word meaning. The place-name and word Shechem is said to mean shoulder, but a discussion of the word in the references reveals that it actually refers to the upper back from shoulder to shoulder, where one would carry a burden.

The city of Shechem is a place where many important events took place in Israel, one of which is significant to this discussion. It is located mid-way between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim along a ridge, or “shoulder-blade” of land above the valley. Joshua gathered all of Israel here to perform the commandment given by Moses in Deuteronomy.

Now it shall be when the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Deut. 11:29.

In Joshua chapter 8, an altar is built before Mount Ebal, “the mount of the cursing” upon which Joshua offers sacrifices of peace offerings. He then writes out the covenant upon the very stones of the altar, a copy of the Law of Moses which is Deuteronomy 27.

And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the Law of Moses which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. Joshua 8:32.

He then placed half the people over against mount Gerizim and half of them over against mount Ebal, again as commanded by Moses, in Deuteronomy 27:12, 13. Joshua 8:33.

And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and cursing according to all that is written in the book of the Law.  Joshua 8:34.

After Joshua completes the conquest of the land, he again calls all the nation of Israel to Shechem and insists that they now make a final decision as to whom they intend to serve. He first reminds them of all that the Lord had done for them in driving out their enemies and then warns them of the task they will take on to be a people unto God.

And Joshua said unto the people, you cannot serve the Lord, for He is a Holy God, a passionate God, and He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve strange gods then he will turn and do you harm and consume you after that he has done you good. And the people answered Joshua, Nay, but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said unto the people you are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord to serve Him. And they said, we are witnesses.        Joshua 24:19-22.

And so the nation of Israel of their own free will took on the burden of the Law, by which no one could attain to true righteousness. We should understand the significance of this and be ever grateful for grace.

Now on the other hand, In Galatians 6:5 (top of page) the word translated burden or load is the same found in Matthew chapter 11 when Jesus said:

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Mt. 11:30.

An even deeper revelation can now be obtained from the root word for Shechem, for it is the word meaning early. What is the connection between rising early and shouldering a burden? The idea is that each day would begin by first preparing everything that would be needed, either to travel or just spend the day out working in the fields, as your burden for the day. For example:

And Abraham arose early (shakam) in the morning and took bread and a bottle of water and gave unto Hagar, putting on her shoulder(shekem), with the child, and sent her away; and she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. Genesis 21:14.

We are often reminded to arise early to pray, so that we can find strength from the Lord to prepare for our burdens of the day. When Jesus said “seek first the kingdom of God”, He then added:

Take therefore no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34.

We can never obtain strength from the Lord for tomorrow’s burdens, no matter how early we got up today. And if you find yourself today under a great burden, know that someone in Christ is already assigned to share that with you, to fulfill the Law of Christ.

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.