Remembrance of an Everlasting Covenant

Surely you shall not be moved forever; the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.                                                                                   Psalm 112:6.

We remain in everlasting remembrance based on the relationship established by the everlasting covenants that exist between God and His creation. After the flood, righteous Noah and his family stood as witnesses to the first blood covenant recorded in Genesis 9. We begin to understand the need for Christ to shed His blood for our sanctification and redemption beginning with the terms of this covenant.

After six hundred years man had corrupted his ways upon the earth to bring God’s first judgment by water. On the first day of the six hundred and first year Noah exited the ark along with all the animals that were delivered from destruction. Gen 8:13. God then blessed Noah and his sons giving them commandment to go replenish the earth. Gen 9:1. It was at this time that man was granted permission to eat the flesh of animals with one critical restriction.

But you shall not eat the flesh with the blood.                                         Genesis 9:4.

The apostles at Jerusalem confirmed the gentile churches and aligned with Paul in not requiring circumcision and the keeping of the Levitical laws. They did demand four ordinances be kept by all believers; that they abstain from pollution of idols and fornication and things strangled and from blood.      Acts 15:20.

The everlasting covenants are blood covenants and the basis for understanding this is Genesis 9.

And surely your blood of your lives will I require at the hand of every beast will I require and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood shall his blood be shed for man was made in the image of God.                                          Genesis 9:5 & 6.

God then gave the rainbow to be the token of an everlasting covenant with not only man, but all of the earth.

I do set my bow in the cloud and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.                                                                          Genesis 9:13.

And the bow shall be in the cloud and I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.                                                           Genesis 9:16.

It is time for the church to fully grasp the nature of this perpetual agreement in order to have a right understanding of the covenants that form the basis for their relationship with God. Consider the serious nature of God’s covenant with the earth from Isaiah’s horrifying vision of judgment.

The land shall be utterly emptied and utterly spoiled for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away, and the arrogant people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men are left.                                                                                                         Isaiah 24:3-6.

And how has the earth been defiled? By pollution? By waste? By radiation? Think again. By the spiritual principles of the Bible the earth is defiled by fornication, sacrifices to idols and false gods and the shedding of innocent blood. Man can clean up a toxic waste site, but only by blood can a land be cleansed of blood.

This is the terms of the everlasting covenant; that God would require blood for blood. Only by the shed blood of the Messiah can man be redeemed from the curses of a covenant violation.

The judgment is foreshadowed in the way God dealt with Judah in the time of Jeremiah. This same standard of judgment awaits a church that turns from the everlasting covenants, for judgment must begin with the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17.)

Trust not in lying words saying the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord…                                                                                                   Jeremiah 7:4.

Simply being a church member is no more insurance than having the temple of the one true God in your capital city.

Will you steal murder commit adultery and swear falsely, and follow other gods and come stand before me in this house which is called by my name… which has become a den of robbers…therefore pray not for this people. Jeremiah 7:8-16.

There comes a time when true intercessors can no longer pray for the church in general because the curse of another gospel is being taught within her buildings.

And nations are angry and your wrath has come and the time of the dead; that they should be judged and that you should give reward unto your servants the prophets and to the saints and them that fear your name small and great; and that you should destroy them which corrupt and destroy the earth.                                                                                                  Revelation 11:18.

The second everlasting covenant became the most controversial and divisive issue for the New Testament congregations. In Genesis 17 God changed Abram’s name to Abraham to establish His everlasting covenant with him. God commanded that circumcision of every male be the token of that covenant.

He that is born into your house and he that is purchased must be circumcised and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.                                                                                                    Genesis 17:13.

The apostle Paul was tasked by the Holy Spirit to set this issue in order for the church and is addressed extensively in his letters. The key to a right understanding is in the verse I just included: my covenant shall be in your flesh.

The Law of Moses included commandments pertaining to circumcision, while also acknowledging there was a spiritual component to a full understanding of the covenant law.

Jesus used this as a point to illustrate the greater spiritual truth in understanding the Word of God.

Moses gave unto you circumcision, not because it is of Moses but of the fathers, and you on the Sabbath day circumcise a male. If circumcision is performed on the Sabbath day that the Law of Moses should not be broken, why be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? Judge not according to appearance but judge righteous judgment.                               John 7:22-24.

The need to ultimately be circumcised in the heart is addressed in the book of Deuteronomy.

Circumcise the foreskins of your heart and be no more stiff necked. Deuteronomy 10:16.

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your children to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul that you may live.                                                                                     Deuteronomy 30:6.

With this in mind we will skip Paul’s in depth arguments and go directly to his conclusions.

Circumcision or uncircumcision is not what matters, but obedience to God.   1 Corinthians 7:19.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working by love.                                                                    Galatians 5:6

For we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.                                  Philippians 3:3.

 

The Sure Mercies of David

The third everlasting covenant is also the most important to the church for the unity of the faith and the gospel to the gentiles. Isaiah made this proclamation:

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 the house of David.                                                                                   Isaiah 55:3.

This promise is found in 2 Samuel:

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.                       2 Samuel 7:12-15.

This was presented 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 the sure mercies of David is a covenant of parental correction unto the perfection of obedience. What you have done is not what is important but how you respond to God’s correction. We must look for his approval in all things.

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

For whom the Lord loves he chastens and scourges every son whom he receives.                                                                                               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 end of 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 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.

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”. 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 seized the hypocrites:       Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burning?”                                                                    Isaiah 33:14.

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

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

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.

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 that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.                                                                            Hebrews 13:20&21.

 

Crowns of Memorial

And the crowns shall be to Helem and to Tobijah and to Jedaiah and to Hen the son of Zephaniah for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.        Zechariah 6:14.

Zechariah and Haggai were both prophets to the Jews who returned from the captivity to Judah and Jerusalem. The Lord God spoke by them to the governor Zerubbabel (sown or born in Babylon) and to the High Priest Joshua (Yeshua) for whom the crowns were made and worn. They were responsible with overseeing the rebuilding the Temple of God.

The High Priest represents the Christ and the temple is the church and body of Christ. What do each of these four witnesses represent, for whom the crowns for Joshua are made to serve as a memorial?

Who are you great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of Grace! Grace to it! Zechariah 4:7.

The name Hen the son of Zephaniah is in the Hebrew Chen and means Grace or Favor. Zerubbabel is instructed to move mountains shouting Chen or Grace. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 21 if you have faith and doubt not you shall say unto this mountain be removed and cast into the sea and it shall be done. Why does He say THIS Mountain? They are standing outside the Temple!

Truly I tell you, the hour is coming when you shall not worship the Father on the mountain of Samaria or Jerusalem. The true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father seeks such to worship Him.            John 4:21-24.

The mountain of religion must become a plain before the Spirit of Truth. The house of God as well as the kingdom of God must be built by Grace through Faith from first to last. Grace has become for many simply the unmerited favor of God. To complete the task of building up the House of God the church needs to get beyond the banality of such definitions. Consider these words of witness.

God is able to make all Grace abound that you always have all sufficiency in all things that you may abound in every good work.                                      2 Corinthians 9:8.

Grace is the abounding sufficiency of God to complete the Work by Faith. To demonstrate your Faith by the Good Work that can only be accomplished with the Grace of God. This Grace must be foremost apparent in the words we speak concerning the Christ and for His church.

You are fairer than the children of men, Grace is poured into your lips and God therefore has blessed you forever.                                                   Psalms 45:2.

He that loves pureness of heart for the grace of his lips the King shall be his friend.                                                                                               Proverbs 22:11.

Paul wrote:                                                                                            Let no corrupting words come from your mouths, but only what is good for building up others (the House of God) to impart Grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29.

And; let your speech be always with Grace. Colossians 4:6.

The Acts of the Apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit is a consistent testimony to what believers can accomplish by the Grace of God. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great grace was upon them all.                                                                Acts 11:23.

Unmerited favor in word and indeed!

So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.                                                                             Acts 20:32.

The second witness to the crowns of memorial for Joshua is Jedaiah whose name means known by the Lord. To know as we are known is the mark for the prize of the high calling of God we press towards in Christ.       Philippians 3:14.

To walk in the Spirit of Grace and Truth the follower of Jesus Christ must come to know Him.

In His Good Shepherd discourse in the Gospel of John, Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd and know mine and am known of them.                             John 10:14.

In the pursuit of knowledge we are warned to always keep ourselves from idols which corrupt the Truth because of covetousness.

Now after you have known God or rather are known by Him, how can you turn again to the weak and beggarly worldly principles that leads back to bondage? We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up but charity builds up. If any man thinks that he knows anything he knows  nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man loves God the same is known by Him. For now we see through a fogged up window for we know in part. When that which is perfect is come, we shall know even as we are known. (Teachings of Paul: 1 Co 8:3; 13:12. Ga 4:9).

The third witness is Tobijah, meaning the goodness of God. Again, the banality of the modern church with its cliche’-like God is good catchphrase greatly diminishes the power of the word tob. The New Testament writers did no such thing.

We first find tob in Genesis chapter 1 as a description of God’s perspective of His own creation. If someone asks you how you are doing and you want to answer “I’m good”, from God’s definition you are perfect and complete in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12.

Perhaps you have followed James’ directive and have let patience do a perfect work so that you are perfect and entirely in want of nothing.     James 1:4.

This third witness to the crowns of memorial is the work of the Holy Spirit in all of us for the edification of the church. At first it was goodness of God that led you to repentance. Romans 2:4.

Goodness is included in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

The continued work within the church is that God would count you worthy of your calling and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power. 2 Th 1:11.

When Jesus said to be perfect even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect, He expressed his desire to see us, the body of Christ come to full maturity in all the Will of God.

Then God can look at our days of church building and see that everything made in the image of Christ is very good.

The fourth witness to the Crowns of Memorial had to experience a name change to properly serve God’s purpose. The man named Helem is first identified in Zechariah 4:10 as Heldai which means worldly. The Spirit of Christ changes his name in verse 14 to Helem meaning vision.

For the work of building up the body of Christ to be fruitful, the members must have the full vision of the doctrine of Christ. Every denomination, church, and ministry must reject worldly wisdom and respond to the call of Christ with childlike simplicity and sincerity.

Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision the people perish. The church struggles are in large part due to an obsession with the wrong vision.

Daniel was a man of visions who is studied and commented on to excess. Daniel’s name means God is Judge, and naturally the visions pertain to the final judgment. His vision also brings some reference for consideration towards the visions of John. These visions of judgment should serve to drive the church to carry out the charge and true vision for the church and of Christ.

Peter wrote in his second letter in response to the question: where is the promise of His Coming? That He is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He then places the proper concern with the manner of persons we should be in holy conversation and godliness, or else we will hasten the coming day of the Lord. Our vision pertains to a new heavens and a new earth wherein righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:9-13.

We neglect our memorials and just recompense of reward if we obsess over the horrible visions of judgment rather than making our hearts pure now, before the refining fires are ignited.

Everyone’s work will become evident for the day will show it because it is revealed by fire and the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work which was built on the foundation survives it will earn a reward. If anyone’s work is burned they will suffer loss but they will be saved only as through the fire. 1 Corinthians 3:13–15.

And the Lord said write the vision on a tablet (as a memorial) and make it plain that they who read may run, for the vision is for an appointed time. Habakkuk 2.

This vision is the apostolic teaching of the New Testament. The appointed time may be nearer than we know, for the time of the gentiles to be fulfilled.

The crowns of memorial earns treasure in heaven as do the memorials of prayer, alms giving and righteous conversation. Peter encourages the elders to be faithful so as to be a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed at the coming of the Lord.

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear you shall receive a crown of glory that never fades.                                                                                           1 Peter 5:4.

James encourages us to endure temptations, for when we are tried we will receive the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12.

Paul encourages Timothy telling him that there is laid up a crown of righteousness the Lord shall give at that day to all who love His appearing.  2 Tim 4:8.

Finally Jesus warns us to hold fast that which we have that no man take our crown.                                                                                                          Revelation 3:11.

So much treasure kept in heaven for us!

 

The Trumpets of Memorial and Remembrance

In Numbers chapter 10, Moses receives instructions to manufacture two pure silver trumpets for general use of calling an assembly and for the movements of the camp. These two trumpets are for the exclusive use of the sons of Aaron, and are distinctive from the more familiar ram’s horn.

The calling of the assembly mentioned in verse two and discussed in verses three and four warrant a closer look. The calling of assemblies at the tent of meeting were appointments with the Lord for chosen men and the nature of that calling is prophetic to the church. Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the law and the prophets foreshadow God’s plan for the body of Christ. The original intention for the people of Israel is presented by God in Exodus.

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.                                                                 Exodus 19:4-6.

This covenant plan is transferred to the body of Christ:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.                                                                                                    1 Peter 2:9.

In fact, the Lord modified his intentions on occasion during the wilderness trek in response to the obedience of some and the disobedience of others. A kingdom of priests became a tribe of priests under Aaron and his direct line, and his tribe Levi.

We see this again in Numbers 11:16&17, when the Lord establishes a special class of men by removing a portion of the anointing on Moses and placing this upon seventy chosen men.

Beginning in Genesis 32, after Jacob wrestles all night with an angel of God, he is given the name Israel. In verse 32, his descendants are first referred to as the children of Israel.

Then in Exodus 12:3, a new term is introduced: the congregation of Israel. The Hebrew word is edah and is derived from the word ad which means witness and is itself derived from ud, meaning to testify. Thus congregation in this sense is better understood as witnesses.

Keep in mind that at the time this reference is introduced, the children of Israel have just witnessed God’s judgments upon Egypt and the Lord is implementing the first Passover in preparation for the exodus.

We also find in Exodus the common expression tabernacle of the congregation. However, a different word is employed here, yet it also is translated congregation in the King James. The Hebrew mo-ad means an appointed or set time, thus the better translation is tent of meeting used in most other translations.

Thus, the trumpets are used at appointed times that they may be established as a memorial; and a remembrance in time of war.

And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.                                                                                            Numbers 10:9.

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.    Numbers 10:10.

In Numbers 10:2 the trumpets are said to be used for the calling of the edah, or witnesses. Keep in mind that this originally referred to all of the people, even as the priesthood. However the people proved themselves to be unmanageable.

In Numbers 11, Moses brings his complaint before God and expresses his preference to by killed rather than continue with a burden that is too heavy for him. (Numbers 11: 11-15).

In verse 16, the Lord instructs Moses to gather unto Him seventy men at the tent of meeting, to have a portion of the spirit on Moses placed on them to bear the burden for the people.

The calling of the edah is not every one of the children of Israel, but those who were chosen from among the called, for many are called but few are chosen.

Therefore brethren be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never fall.                                           2 Peter 1:10.

When they shall blow with them all the witnesses shall assemble themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting.                                      Numbers 10:3.

When Moses speaks to the Lord concerning the people complaining about their diet, the Lord says He will provide flesh for them for a whole month until it comes out of their nostrils and it becomes loathsome unto you. Moses responds: “the people are 600,000 soldiers (plus women, children and the elders) and what can be gathered to suffice them?”                                Numbers 11:18-23.

By this estimation, over two million people would have to gather at the entrance to the tabernacle upon hearing trumpets.

Then in verse 4 the captains (nasee) of thousands are called upon the signal of one trumpet blown. The Hebrew word nasee is also translated prince, ruler and chief. It means one who has been elevated or promoted, but also to bear up, such as a burden.

In the kingdom of God, rulers are raised up to bear responsibility. When princes in Israel and Judah became like pagans and lived a life of privilege, the nation was undermined. Jesus spoke in regard to John the Baptist: “men in soft apparel dwell in king’s palaces.”

The two trumpet signal calling the witnesses would be in regard to matters of the Law, for they received the anointing to function as judges. The second assembly would pertain to administrative and military affairs and would require the captains of thousands to be in attendance. These are the calling of the assemblies for which the trumpets were to be used. The second function is for the journeying of the camps.

In Numbers 9:17-23 is a description of how the entire camp began and ended every leg of their journey. The movement of the camp was always at the command of the Lord as expressed by the cloud upon the tent of meeting. They kept the charge of the Lord at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses. The hand of Moses is established by trumpet signals described in chapter 10:5&6.

Within these instructions is found another important word for study. The word is translated alarm, blast, and signal, and is blown to initiate the movements of the camp.

The Hebrew teruwah is the great shout that brought down the walls of Jericho, that caused the earth to ring when the ark of the testimony was brought out in battle, and when David and his house brought forth the ark into the city of David, which is Mount Zion. Even more important than to shout is what is shouted, for a people to shout out in harmony is to magnify the Lord. This cannot be attained if everyone shouts out whatever seems right in his own mind.

Blessed are the people who know the teruwah (joyful sound)! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.                                                       Psalm 89:15.

Numbers 23:21 proclaims over the Lord’s people “the shout of the King is among them!” The Lord has given us a name to call upon Him as a remembrance for all generations (See The Name of Remembrance).

Blessed are the people who know the name of remembrance to shout with the sound (voice) of the trumpet (shofar).

When the jubilee trumpet sounds the voice of shofar, shout a great teruwah, and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend. Joshua 6:5.

The voice of shofar is first introduced in Exodus 19:16, and describes the herald of the Lord’s presence on Mount Sinai. This blast of sound is said to draw near the ones whose heart seeks the Lord. Most of the people withdrew at the presence of the Lord, but the opposite is what was expected. Moses was instructed to set boundaries around the mount, for whosoever touched the border of the mount must be put to death.

Now the just shall live by faith, but if any draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.                                           Hebrews 10:38 & 39.

And again:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure what was commanded “and if a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of justified men made perfect.                                  Hebrews 12:18-23.

The voice of shofar is not restricted to being produced by a trumpet or ram’s horn. In Isaiah 58:1 the Lord declares: Cry aloud, spare not, and lift up your voice like a trumpet (lift up the voice of shofar), and show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. They claim to delight in “drawing near” to God by fasting and afflicting their souls.

The voice of shofar is the Spirit of the Messiah or Christ. Jesus said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour shall come, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. John 5:25.

And again:

Marvel not at this, for an hour shall come when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and those that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but those that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.                                                                                                John 5:27 & 28.

Psalm 47 says God ascends upon the teruwah and the voice of shofar. Shout unto God with the voice of triumph! The voice of triumph is the shout of the King. The jubilee of reconciliation and drawing near to God, the proclamation of liberty!

 

Memorial of Mary of Bethany

Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Mark 14:9; Matthew 26:13.

Ironically, in these two accounts, the words are spoken on behalf of an unnamed woman who came in during a dinner with Jesus at the table. “There came a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment and poured it on His head.”  The gospel of John fills in the missing pieces. Chapter 12 of his gospel identifies the woman as Mary, the sister of Martha, and Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead. Martha is serving the dinner.

This set the stage for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, for word of Lazarus having been raised from the dead had ignited the large crowds on hand for the Passover. The chief priests consulted to also see Lazarus put to death, because by reason of him many of the Jews believed in Jesus.

We are also informed by John 11:2 it was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. This account is found in           Luke 7:37-50. The Lord uses this opportunity to make a very important point: “to whom little is forgiven, loves little.

This is not to say that some people are less of a sinner and need less forgiveness, but some fail to acknowledge their condition and need for reconciliation with God. The Pharisee saw himself as having a relationship with God, while looking down on Mary as a sinner. Thus she is told; “your sins are forgiven”, and “your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

In Luke 10:38-42, we find another narrative involving Mary and Martha, with Jesus a guest in their home. Martha was busy with much serving while her sister sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. Martha exclaimed, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her to come help me.” To which Jesus replied unto her, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things but one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

We cannot imagine wrong in someone with a heart to serve, but can see where there is a time for everyone to be still and know the Lord. However, Jesus is not just speaking to a willingness to serve.

We can see a greater concern for someone who is careful and troubled and should fully consider what the Lord is addressing.

The word translated careful here is used by Jesus repeatedly in His sermons, but the more typical translation in the KJV is “take no thought”, and means to be anxious.

Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than clothing? 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 6:25,34.

Jesus also uses the same word to tell us not to worry about what we should say if our faith is put on trial, saying if we are delivered up, “take no thought how or what you shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same moment what you should speak.”                                                                   Matthew 10:19.

In His parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus describes the seed among thorns as someone who hears His word, but are choked with “cares” of riches and pleasures in life, and brings no fruit to maturity.                   Luke 8:14.

Paul tells us: “be careful” for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.                                             Philippians 4:6 & 7.

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

 

A Memorial for Lazarus

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus.                         John 11:5.

For a moment in time, the town of Bethany was at the center of God’s story, and these three people were at center stage in the narrative concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We know more about these three people than we do most of the apostles. This chapter in the gospel of John gives the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The story told exemplifies the work of Jesus in reconciliation, restoration, and resurrection.

After Lazarus has died and been laid to rest, Jesus returns to Bethany after informing His disciples that the glory of God is about to be revealed unto them, and the Son of God will be glorified. Martha is the first to approach Jesus and says “Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died.” Jesus tells her “your brother will rise again”, to which she replies, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”.

Jesus tells her “I am the resurrection and life”, and then asks her if she believes in Him. She then makes the true confession of faith, showing how far she had come in receiving the Gospel. She said unto Him:

Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who would come into the world.                                                                                     John 11:27.

When Mary comes on the scene she is only able to say “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”, as she continued weeping, along with those who came to comfort her; and Jesus wept with them.        John 11:35.

The witnesses exclaimed, “Behold how He loved him!” Jesus then commands them to take away the stone covering the entrance to the cave where Lazarus was laid. Martha advises Him that he has been dead four days, and expects a foul odor. Jesus then says to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe, that you would see the glory of God?” He then calls Lazarus forth from the grave.

The name Lazarus makes for a very interesting study. The name is Greek to English, for the Hebrew name Eleazar, a very prominent character throughout the Old Testament. El ‘Azar means God is helper, and is first identified as the third son of Aaron. The two older sons of Aaron are devoured by the fire of God’s presence when they make an unauthorized offering of incense before the Ark.

By the time of Aaron’s decease, Moses is instructed to strip the garments of the High Priest from Aaron and put them on his son Eleazar. During the conquest of the land of Canaan under Joshua, Eleazar stood before the Ark of the Covenant and oversaw the division of land by lot for each tribe’s inheritance.

During the time of Samuel, another man named Eleazar, son of Abinadab kept the Ark of the Lord at Kirjathjearim twenty years. Later one of David’s mighty men named Eleazar, the son of Dodo the Ahohite is listed as one of the three mighty men with David, who stood against the Philistines when the army of Israel fled, and fought until his sword stuck to his hand and the Lord gave a great victory. The people only returned after to divide the spoil.

During the time of Ezra and the restoration following the Babylonian exile, one of the priests named Eleazar oversaw the return of the silver and gold vessels to the House of God, and a Levite named Eleazar was on hand during the time of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. It would seem during the greatest exploits of God’s people, a priest named Eleazar, God has helped, was always present.

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter one, in the genealogy we find Eleazar begat Mattan, and Mattan begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.                           Matthew 1:15&16.

And finally, in the Gospel of Luke chapter 16, we read an illustrative narrative given by Jesus concerning a poor beggar named Lazarus, who sat at the gate of a certain rich man, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.

How far had man fallen from the place where God was his help? Was Jesus resurrecting more than just an individual when he raised Lazarus from the grave?

Continuing his narrative in Luke, Jesus goes on describe the death of the beggar and the afterlife from the biblical perspective. Lazarus was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom, a place of comfort. Meanwhile the rich man has also died and sees Lazarus with Abraham and cries out for mercy, for he was in a place of torment in Hades.

Unfortunately, he is admonished by Abraham, and reminded that in his lifetime he received good things while Lazarus suffered evil things, but is now comforted, and you are tormented. “Besides, there is a great gulf fixed between us that cannot be passed.”                                                           Luke 16:19-31.

This description of the afterlife is most startling. I have often wondered what the notion of people dying and going to heaven is based upon. Of course, I don’t doubt the existence of such a place, just preaching that people who are saved by confessing Jesus as their Lord and Savior can expect to go there, if they died tomorrow.

Just saying that the Gospel is never presented in that way by the apostles, and the house of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.                   Ephesians 2:20.

Paul says: if anyone or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any preach any other gospel unto you that that you have received, let him be accursed.                                          Galatians 1:8 & 9.

Far be it that anyone would bring a curse in preaching “another gospel”, thus we should take the greatest care to be consistent in the message.

Acts 4:1&2 says: and as they spoke unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

The focus of Jesus’s teaching always centered on the resurrection.

Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.                                                              John 5:28, 29.

At the time Jesus was saying this, he was claiming that all authority to execute judgment has been given unto him by his Father. To avoid preaching the resurrection is to avoid preaching the judgment.

From Genesis to Revelation, judgment is spoken of nearly 300 times. Paul testified before kings and queens:  “he reasoned with them of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come.”                                                            Acts 24:24, 25.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about the righteous judgment of God. The empowerment of the Holy Spirit is all about being able to live a life that will allow us to stand at the judgment.

The Message is of life everlasting; and a victorious life in the here and now. In so doing we await a new heaven and a new earth wherein abides righteousness.                                                                                                  2 Peter 3:13.

 

Remembering Zeal for the House of God

The Gospel of John has a unique account of Jesus overturning tables of the money changers in the temple. After all the animals had been driven away and the money poured out, Jesus says “Take these things away, do not make My Father’s House a place for merchants.” Then His disciples remembered that it was written “zeal for Your House consumes me.”      John 2:17.

The more knowledgeable you become in the Word of God, the more the Holy Spirit is able to speak to you in every situation. Jesus had created a very perilous environment for Himself and the disciples, and most people under these circumstances would be thinking “let’s get out of here, now!” The disciples must have been captivated to see the Word of God being played out before their eyes.

This was not the first time they were witnessing prophecy fulfilled, and their hearts would soon be broken to watch what they refused to accept. Even though Jesus warned them three times, their minds refused to accept that the Christ would soon be crucified. The remembrance of Jesus’s words would have a devastating effect. Put yourself in the shoes of Peter when he was confronted by the crowd and accused of being a follower of Christ. He began to curse and deny knowing the man, until the rooster crowed.

And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which said unto him “before the rooster crows you shall deny me three times”. And he went out and wept bitterly.                                                                                             Matthew 26:75.

Oh that we could remember the Word of the Lord before we speak! This is why we must pray like David; “keep your servant from presumptuous words, let them not have dominion over me. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord my strength and my Redeemer.                                                                                       Psalms 19:14.

For even the meek Moses failed to enter the Promised Land, because he failed to sanctify the Lord before the people and spoke presumptuously at the waters of Meribah in Numbers 20:10-13.

They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill for Moses for their sake; because they provoked his spirit, so that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips.                                                                                            Psalm 106:32,33.

The Remembrance the disciples experience at this incident at the temple is found in Psalm 69, which is one of several Messianic visions of David.

God you know my foolishness and my sins are not hid from you. Let not them that wait on you O Lord be ashamed for my sake; let not those that seek you be confounded for my sake God of Israel.                                        Psalm 69:5.

The anointing of Christ must place a burden of responsibility on the stewards of the Gospel to not offend someone to the detriment of their soul. James wrote: “if a man offends not in word, the same is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”                                                                             James 3:2.

We must discipline our tongue before we can ever discipline our flesh.

For the zeal of your house consumes me, and the reproaches of them that reproached you are fallen upon me.                                                           Psalm 69:9.

The second half of this verse is quoted by Paul:   

Let every one of us please our neighbors for the good of edification. For even Christ did not please Himself but as it is written: the reproaches of them that reproached you are fallen upon me.                                                  Romans 15:2,3.

This is his overriding theme that began in the previous chapter.

Romans 14 is devoted to the exhortation that concern for our brethren must direct our actions. A zeal for God’s House can now only be expressed through our concern for each other.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore but judge this rather that no one put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in a brother’s way. Romans 14:13.

The other three Gospels give a different rendering of this event.    “It is written: My house shall be called the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”                                                                    Matthew 21:13, Isaiah 56:7.

Then a significant event immediately follows the merchants being driven from the Temple.                                                                                                                                                          And the blind and the lame came to Him and he healed them. Matthew 21:14.

The blind and the lame entered the Temple for the first time because the Lord made the way for them. Their exclusion from the Temple was brought about by a curse spoken by David in anger, and is found in 2 Samuel 5. David and his men went to take Jerusalem from the Jebusites and are taunted by them saying “unless you can defeat the blind and the lame you will not come up here.” They considered the stronghold of Zion to be impregnable, but Joab led the men up the sewer and defeated the Jebusites and slew “the blind and the lame whom David’s soul hates.”

Therefore it became a statute at the words of David that the blind and the lame shall not come into The House. Again, words spoken in contempt by an anointed man of God became a curse that Jesus removed with His compassion.

Zeal for the house of God can now only be expressed through compassion and loving kindness.