Hearing Twice

Ezekiel 3:10.   Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.

When we only hear with our ears, we receive a carnal interpretation of what was heard. Carnal hearing and carnal thoughts are a distinctly earthly perspective on when and what God has spoken. When believers meditate on the scriptures and receive them into their heart, there is a second hearing, from a heavenly perspective. Paul refers to this as “the Holy Spirit testifying to our spirit.” This is receiving wisdom by being born from above.

Psalm 62:11.  God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.

There are two most popular interpretations of this verse. One is the “idiomatic interpretation”, that is a Hebrew expression that actually means, “God speaks repeatedly”. He must get tired of saying the same thing over and over to people who ‘have ears, but do not hear.’ The more ancient Rabbinic interpretation is that God spoke once on Sinai, and Moses spoke the Torah twice to the children of Israel, Deuteronomy being the second.

How then can you apply this verse from Psalm 62 in a living way to your life? When Ezekiel 3:10 testifies to an understanding of Psalm 62:11, the Holy Spirit is able to interpret every word of scripture from the heavenly perspective, not the earthly perspective. This has been the basis for what I have been teaching for the past several months, most recently ‘Mercy Is Strength”.

Loving Kindness For Strangers

Titus 1:8.   Be a lover of hospitality.       

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

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 ten 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:

 Luke 17:18.     “there are none found that returned to give glory to God, besides this stranger.”                                                

The Samaritans were a despised people living among the most misunderstood 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.   ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you have done to one of the least of these My brethren, you did to Me.’

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

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

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

 Leviticus 19:34.  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.                                               

Numbers 15:14, 15.  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.                                 

Deuteronomy 10:18, 19.   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.                                                    

Isaiah 56:1-8.   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.”              

Jeremiah 22:3.  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.       

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

 Malachi 3:5.   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.       

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?

Ephesians 2:12.    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.                                                  

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 fifteen 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 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 of the gentiles. In contrast, Jesus always ate with publicans and sinners.

Galatians 2:11-14.   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?”                             

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 10, his fear of men resulted in hypocrisy.

Acts 10:28.   Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful (Pharisaic) 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.                     

And finally he concludes:

Acts 10:34, 35.  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.       

As an elder of the first church in Jerusalem, Peter was very familiar with 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.

Acts 6:1.   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.                             

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.

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

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

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.

1  Corinthians 10:11.   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.      

When Paul says that this issue is 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.

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

1 Corinthians 10:5, 6.  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.                   

Hebrews 3:14-19.   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 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.                              

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.

Hebrews 11:8-16   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.   (highlights.)

James wrote:

James 1:27  Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.                        

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:

Philippians 2:14-16.     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.                                                          

 

God’s Steadfast Love

Isaiah 55:3. incline your ear and come unto me, hear and your soul shall live and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the steadfast love I promised unto David.     

This promise is found in 2 Samuel:

2 Samuel 7:12-15.  When your days are fulfilled and you sleep with the fathers, I will set up your seed after you and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever, and I will be his Father and he will be my son. If he commits iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men and stripes of the children of men. But my mercy will not depart from him as I took from Saul who I removed before you.                       

This was presented to the church:  

Acts 13:32-34.  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.” 

The covenant of the sure mercies of David is a covenant of parental correction unto the perfection of obedience. What you have done is not what is  as important as how you respond to God’s correction. 

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

Hebrews 12:6.  For whom the Lord loves he chastens and scourges every son whom he receives.                                                                                               

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. 

Luke 1:31-33.  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.                   

Isaiah 9:6&7.    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. 

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:

Acts 3:21.  heaven has received Him until the restoration of all things spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began.

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

Ezekiel 34:23-31.  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 37:24-28.  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.   

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 age.

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 Christ: Whose son is he? The teachers responded that he is the son of David. Jesus then silences them with this statement.

Matthew 22:41-46.  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? 

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:24-28.  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.                                

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.

Genesis 41:40-44.  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.

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.

John 5:22&23.  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). 

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 come 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. 

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

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.)

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”. 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.

Isaiah 33:14.  The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”  

These everlasting covenants are without respect of persons. The terms are final.

Hebrews 6:16.  For men in truth swear by one greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.   

This refers to the role of Jesus Christ as the mediator between God and man. When the terms of the mediation are accepted, there is no more negotiations. Any other gospel is cursed.
Hebrews 13:20&21. Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every good work to do His Will, working in you which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  

The Hidden Ones

Psalm 83:3. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,                                         and consulted together against Your hidden ones.

The saints of God are not a voting block, a religious  denomination, or a box you check on a census. They are hidden, found only in the secret place of the heart. Psalm 83:3 is correctly translated in the KJV as ‘hidden ones’, from the Hebrew ‘tsaphan’ meaning hidden or secret.

Romans 2:28, 29.  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but a Jew is one inwardly; and circumcision of the heart, in the Spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Being a Jew ‘inwardly’, uses the Greek word kryptos, from which we obtain the English word cryptic, and is translated literally as ‘hidden’, or ‘secret’.  The rabbis translating Psalm 83:3 to Greek in the Septuagint used hagios(holy ones) rather than kryptos, and in translating thus interpret the people to be ‘the saints’, rather than the literal ‘hidden ones’.

Abiding in the Secret Place

Thus the true saints are of the ‘inner man’, in the spirit, not the flesh. This is beautifully expressed by Peter:

1 Peter 3:3, 4. Do not let your adornment be outward, the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

How is this spiritual Jew recognized? Paul states that their praise comes not from men, but from God.

John 5:44  How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?

Galatians 1:10. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:4.  But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which tries our hearts.

A Secret Life of Devotion

Our personal devotions must be to the Lord, from the heart.

Matthew 6:3,4. When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Matthew 6:6. When you pray, go into your room, and when you shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:18.  When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

When you are ‘rewarded openly’, the fruit of the Spirit manifests from the sons and daughters of God.

John 15:7, 8. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Romans 8:19.  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Matthew 7:15. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

When the children of God are made manifest by the Spirit, they become like ‘a city on a hill’.

Matthew 5:14.  You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden (kryptos).

John 15:16. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

1 Timothy 5:24, 25.   Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding to judgment, but those of some follow later. Likewise, the good works are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.

The judgment of God for every soul shall become evident.

Luke 8:17.  For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known and come to light. 

Luke 12:3. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

1 Corinthians 4:5. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

The fruit of the Spiritual Gifts

2 Corinthians 4:1. We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

1 Timothy 4:14-16. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands of the elders. Practice these things—be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be clear to all. Give attention to yourself and your teaching. Persevere in these things, for in doing so you will save yourself and those who hear you. 

Colossians 3:1-4. If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are 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. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Through the hidden life,  the saints experience the faithfulness of the Lord.

Psalm 27:5.  For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20.  You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Job 10:12, 13. You have granted me life and favour, and your visitation has preserved my spirit. And these things you have hidden in your heart: I know that this is with You.

The Standard Of Christ

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.

Set Before Faithful Men

2 Timothy 2:2. And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit unto faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

The Memorials of God exist to perpetuate the memory of His intent and purpose. A faithful man understands that his commitment is not only to learn and live in the Remembrance of the Lord, but also to discipleship and the passing on of the doctrine of Christ to faithful men. This is what brought about the calling of Abraham.

To Command your Children and your Household

Isaiah 18:19.   For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

This testimony of God concerning Abraham is echoed in the testimony of Cornelius.

Acts 10:2.  A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

A righteous man instructs others in the way of the Lord to keep right judgment.

Psalm 106:3.  Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that does righteousness at all times.

To Love what He Loves

Psalm 33:4, 5.  For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in the Spirit of Truth. He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

To love righteousness and judgment is to abide in His presence by the Spirit of Truth; for “righteousness and judgment is the habitation of His Throne.”

A Righteous Nation under God

Jeremiah 22:3. Thus saith the Lord; Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

We stir up our hearts by the Remembrance of His compassion for those who are afflicted.

Psalm 103:6. The Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

Genuine conversion is only accomplished by the righteousness from above.

Isaiah 1:27. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

Born from Above

1 John 2:29.   If you know that he is righteous, you know that every one that does righteousness is born of him.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit through faithful men.

John 16:8.  And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.