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.

Judge Yourself

For if we were judging ourselves thoroughly, we wouldn’t be coming under judgment. But when we are judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord so that we might not be condemned along with the world. 1 Co 11:31&32.

If we are to judge ourselves, by what standard are we to discern the body  (V.29)? Paul provides the answer to this question in Colossians 2:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Col 2:16,17.

Many translations fail to get the gist of what Paul is saying here, and modify verse 17 drastically. There seems to be the notion that “the body of Christ” at the end of the verse seems to just hang. The authorized KJV adds the word “is”, while other translations completely change the text to “the reality is Christ (Messiah). Verse 17 cannot be separated from verse 16 as many translations do, because the point is by what means are we to be judged. It is not by what you do or don’t eat, or any other religious observance, which are a shadow of things that are now established in the body of Messiah.

Allow me to give you an example. I have heard on many occasions a believer say; ”I am in the church every time the doors are open!” That’s great, but here’s what the Lord says about religious observance:

“Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, yet you have neglected the weightier matters of Torah—justice and mercy and faithfulness. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others. Matthew 23:23.

There are weightier matters with which we must concern ourselves, and these are established within the functioning body of Messiah. At the judgment, no one is going to hear; “Ah yes, my good and faithful servant. You were in the church every time the doors were open. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

Consider these words of the Messiah:

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’. Matthew 7:22,23.

We may perform many wonderful works, but did we know our Master’s voice. Did we perform His Will, or our own in His Name. This must be given serious consideration. Perhaps you had done many wonderful works, but then decided to take up with another brother’s wife.

When I tell the righteous that he will surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered. But in his iniquity that he has committed, he will die.     Ezekiel 33:13.

The Lord has ordained the good works that we are to abide in through faithfulness.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God.  It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10. Think on these things.

Is the Law Sin?

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  Romans 7:7.

What is the dynamic here, that we know something is wrong and do it anyway?  The answer is direct, but not at all simple.

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. Ro 7:14.

Here is where we must answer a very direct question: are we willing to die to our selves so that the life of Christ can manifest?

Receive Grace for Grace

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

What, then, is “grace for grace”?

I have always understood this Hebraism by the words of the Lord to His disciples:
“freely ye have received, freely give”. Matthew 10:8.

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 continue 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:

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:
ye all are partakers of my grace.Philippians 1:7.

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

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

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

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

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

Signs of an Apostle

Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Co 12:12

Give particular heed to the fact that Paul here places patience before signs, wonders and mighty deeds.  And no wonder, for signs and mighty wonders can be falsified and reproduced.

And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceives them that dwell on the earth by  those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast…Rev 13:13,14.

The one thing that Satan cannot overcome is the patience of the saints.

He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Rev 13:10.

So many claim to have a great vision for how they will build up the kingdom of God, but the glory we seek is obtained by patient continuance in well-doing.

To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.  Romans 2:7.

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

 

Newness of Life

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.   Romans 6:4.

Paul begins this chapter of his letter to the Romans by proposing this question:                Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  Romans 6:1.

We see  within the scope of this question the inherent stumbling block of preaching the abounding Grace of God. The  clear and present danger is that many immature Christians will take license to continue in sin. This was already an issue in Paul’s day, how much more now as that day approaches when the Lord will judge the world in righteousness?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Ro. 6:2&3.

And now in the tradition of his training, Paul continues to answer his own question by proposing two more questions. Do we know that we are dead to sin? Do you not know that this is the very point of your baptism.?

We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.  1 John 5:18.

If you have not come to know this as a fact, know that the abounding grace is given to those who ask in genuine humility.

But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6.

We now move forward in Paul’s exposition to witness to the word and work of the Holy Spirit in presenting the Apostolic Memorials of our Faith. For every word must be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6.

As Paul continues in the argument, he uses the word newness for the second time. Previously, the word was newness of life. Now, we refine the definition to newness of spirit. You can bear witness to how Paul is able to teach Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, even though he was not among the disciples of Jesus prior to His death and resurrection. For Jesus gave this testimony that you can confirm within yourself.

It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63.

 

 

Who is running The House?

You may be familiar with a Greek yogurt in most supermarkets called Oikos. The word means house/home in Greek and at some level may suggest “homemade” goodness. On the other hand, I have never seen Oikos milk, cottage cheese or sour cream. They are dedicated to making good yogurt, therefore, they are “building their house” on yogurt, the way the Hersey family built their house on chocolate and the Busch family built their house on beer.

Oikos is the root of many important words found in the New Testament, none more important than Romans chapters 7 and 8. Three times in chapter seven Paul uses the word oikeo in regards to sin which is translated dwells in, or living in me. He describes  our struggle with a carnal nature, and the ineffectiveness of the Law to overcome the “law of sin and death.”

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  Romans 7:15.

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Romans 7:17.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Romans 7:18.
Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Romans 7:20.

And so we see Paul repeat this word three times to emphasize the nature of sin as a “resident” in my house, who is a home wrecker. The will of sin is contrary to our own and leads us  to self-destructive behavior that man was unable to overcome without a Savior. This he purposely presents to serve as a contrast to the point he intends to make in chapter 8. He closes the chapter and builds a bridge to the next with this proclamation:

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man,
but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this 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 7:22-25.
Only now, with a thorough understanding of chapter 7 can a disciple grasp the victory described in Chapter 8. Many times I have heard preaching directly from Romans 8 that if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in you by faith. This is not the point that Paul was trying to make at all. This is not,”the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” theology.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  Romans 8:9.
We now see Paul using the same word that he used three times in Romans 7, to say that if the Spirit of God directs your will the way the sin nature did before, then you will walk in victory.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.  Romans 8:11.
When he says “by his Spirit that dwells in you”,  he uses enoikeo, a strengthened form of the word oikeo used five times previously that implies dwelling in harmony and cooperation. This is what the Lord and the apostle John referred to as “abiding in” the Spirit.
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, they are the sons of God.  Romans 8:13&14.
This is working out your salvation with “fear and trembling.” Ph 2:12.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Ga 5:24.