COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

Sermons on Genesis

FREEDOM IS RESPONSIBILITY

Freedom IS RESPONSIBILITY
Freedom is a MEANS to live within the truth.

As we have learned last Sunday, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Russian philosopher and author who wrote the “GULAG ARCHIPELAGO” and with it exposed the rottenness of Soviet totalitarianism wrote: “The foundation of totalitarianism is an ideology made of lies. The system depends for its existence on a people’s fear of challenging the lies.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn

In his book “The Deeper State” Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis gives us this definition:
“Globalism is a synonym for globalization, the system of global economic interconnection that is embraced by liberal groups like labor unions, climate change alarmists, and the wealthy, self-righteous elite. Many of those same advocates mistakenly claim globalization is a dispassionate concept that describes the associated increasing connectivity throughout the world that makes our lives better. That’s at best A HALF-TRUTH.”
He goes on to say:
“The core of the world’s globalist community is a worldwide network of self-consumed elitists and their mass of naïve supporters – international financiers, the royal landowners and wealthy political figures who seek TO CONTROL EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ON EARTH.
They use their wealth to exercise CONTROL OVER THE GLOBE’S POWER CENTERS -corporations, the media, education, governments, religion, medicine, and even the military.”

In 1964, then Senator Barry Goldwater published a book titled:
“WITH NO APOLOGIES”. In it he exposed the globalist agenda.
“David Rockefeller’s newest international cabal (The Trilateral Commission) is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing CONTROL of the political government of the United States…
The Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to SEIZE CONTROL and consolidate the four centers of power: political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical. What the Trilateral Commission intends is to create a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation states involved. As managers and creators of the system, they will rule the future.”

Well, in 1991 David Rockefeller, the founder of the Trilateral Commission, confirmed what Goldwater published 27 years earlier
“We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those days.”
The work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto determination practiced in past centuries.”

Quoting Lt.Col. Robert Maginnis one more time:
“The problem is that most of the public hasn’t a clue about the danger posed by elite globalists, which reminds me of something Adolf Hitler,
the genocidal Nazi dictator, once said about the German masses:
‘HOW FORTUNATE FOR LEADERS THAT MEN DO NOT THINK.’
It’s time the masses awaken to the globalist threat and think about the likely consequences of their agenda.” Lt.Col.Robert Maginnis

Before I read to you her definition of TOTALITARIANISM, let me give you the definition of AUTHORITARIANISM.
AUTHORITARIANISM is what you have when the state monopolizes political control. That is also known as dictatorship – bad as this is, totalitarianism is much worse.

“A totalitarian society is one in which an ideology seeks to displace all prior traditions and institutions, with the goal of BRINGING ALL ASPECT OF SOCIETY UNDER CONTROL OF THAT IDEOLOGY. A totalitarian state is one that aspires to nothing less than defining and controlling reality. TRUTH IS WHATEVER THE RULERS DECIDE IT IS. Wherever totalitarianism has ruled it has begun to destroy the essence of man.” Hannah Arendth “The Origins of Totalitarianism”

Rod Dreher in his book “Live Not By Lies” unmasks those people this way:
“Back in the Soviet era, totalitarianism demanded love for the Party, and compliance with the Party’s demands was enforced by the state. Today, totalitarianism demand allegiance to a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incompatible with logic – and certainly with Christianity. Compliance is forced less by the state than by elites who form public opinion, and by private corporations that, thanks to technology, control our lives far more than we would like to admit.”
“Soft totalitarianism exploits decadent modern man’s preference for personal pleasure over principle, including political liberties. The publish will support, or at least not oppose, the coming soft totalitarianism, not because it fears the imposition of cruel punishments but because it will be more or less satisfied by hedonistic comforts.”
“Soft totalitarianism makes use of advanced surveillance technology not yet imposed by the state, but rather welcomed by consumers as aids to lifestyle convenience – and in the post pandemic environment, likely needed for public health. It is hard to get worked up over Big Brother when you have already grown accustomed to Bid Data closely monitoring your private life via pass, credit cards, and smart devices, which make life so much easier and more pleasurable.
In Orwell’s fictional dystopia, the state installed “telescreens” in private homes to keep track of individual’s lives. Today we install smart speakers into our homes to increase our sense of well-being.”

“The death of God in the West had given birth to a new civilization devoted to liberating the individual to seek his own pleasures and to managing emergent anxieties. Religious Man, who lived according to belief in transcendent principles that ordered human life around communal purposes, had given way to Psychological Man, who believed that there was no transcendent order and that life’s purpose was to find one’s own way experimentally. Man no longer understood himself to be a PILGRIM on a meaningful journey with others, but as a TOURIST who traveled through life according to his own self-designed itinerary, with personal happiness his ultimate goal.”
“For the first time, humankind was seeking to create a civilization based on the negation of any binding transcendent order.
The Bolsheviks may have been godless, but even they believed that there was a metaphysical order, one that demanded that individuals subordinate their personal desires to a higher cause.” Philip Rieff
Rieff is famous for writing: “Even the church leaders were lying to themselves about the ability of the institutions they led to resist the therapeutic.”

In 2005, the sociologists of religion Christian Smith and Melinda Lunquist Denton coined the phrase: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

“If true freedom is defined as freedom of choice, as opposed to the classical concept of choosing virtue, then the door is wide open to reforming religion along therapeutic lines centered around subjective experience. This is why so many conservative Christians did not see, and still cannot explain, the ongoing victories of transgenderism in the culture war. The transgender phenomenon, which requires affirming psychology over biological reality, is a logical culmination of a process that started centuries earlier.
Christian resistance on a large scale to the anti-culture has been fruitless, and is likely to be for the foreseeable future. WHY? Because the spirit of the therapeutic has conquered the churches as well – even those populated by Christians who identify as conservative. Relatively few contemporary Christians are prepared to suffer for their faith, because the therapeutic society that has formed them denies the purpose of suffering in the first place, and the idea of bearing pain for the sake of truth seems ridiculous.” Rod Dreher “Live Not By Lies”

EATING THE FRUIT

In his book “The Beginning – Genesis” Les Woodson writes:
“If man were to share the Creator’s likeness, he must be allowed the use of his will. Where there is no choice, will is not only superfluous but nonexistent. Only in the midst of creative tension which provides at least one option can man be other than a non-choosing beast. The continual conflict made possible by the presence of a choice between two alternatives is an essential ingredient in RESPONSIBLE LIVING.”

Carl Teichrib in his book “Game of Gods” describes him:
“The one before Eve is shrewd and deliberate, showing an exceptional understanding of the human propensity to rationalize. The serpentine-dragon imagery is a powerful expression of his very potent nature. In the Garden he comes to dialogue, to question and test, and to masterfully engage in the salesmanship of self-justification.”
One more quote from Carl Teichrib’s book:
“THE BENEFITS OF PARTAKING APPEARED TO SURPASS THE COSTS: Life would go on, wisdom was to be granted, and the human status would be elevated. This “knowledge”, allowing one to apparently become as Yahweh Himself, would achieve A GREATER GOOD.
Enlightenment was before them. Following the angelic advice, they engaged in the act of taking and eating, the first TECHNIQUE of human-proclaimed self-divinity.”
In so doing, they discovered the tempter had wiled them with a HALF-TRUTH. Immortality vanished and the idea of becoming “as God” proved illusionary. Of course, the truth-part was we “experientially and spiritually” entered the realm of the “knowledge of good and evil”. We had now tasted its capability, but as the Garden incident demonstrated and human history shows, we were personally and collectively unable to control its capacity.
IT CONTROLS US.”

Dr. Michael Heiser in his book “The Unseen Realm” answers that question:
“God is not evil, there is no biblical reason to argue that God predestined the fall, though he foreknew it. There is no biblical reason to assert that God predestined all the evil events throughout human history simply because he foreknew them….
God does not need evil as a means to accomplish anything.
God foreknew the fall. That foreknowledge did not propel the event. God also foreknew a solution to the fall that he himself would guarantee…
Evil does not flow from a first domino that God himself toppled. Rather, evil is the perversion of God’s good gift of free will. It arises from the choices made by imperfect imagers, not from God’s prompting or predestination. God does not need evil, but he has the power to take the evil that flows from free-will decisions – human or otherwise – and use it to produce good and his glory through the obedience of his loyal imagers, who are his hands and feet on the ground NOW.”

The fact and the truth are amazingly simple: The responsibility to choose how we act and react is on us. It also means that what we choose to do is an important part of how things will turn out.
WHAT WE DO MATTERS; PERIOD.

The Swiss Theologian Emil Brunner in his book “Man and Creation” wrote:
“Man is, and remains, responsible, whatever his personal attitude to his Creator may be. He may deny his responsibility, and he may misuse his freedom, but he cannot get rid of his responsibility. Responsibility is part of the unchangeable structure of man’s being. That is; the actual existence of man – of every man, not only the man who believes in Christ – consists in the positive fact that he has been made to respond – TO GOD.”

Occult historian Richard Cavendish writes the following regarding the BLACK ARTS.
“The driving force behind black magic is hunger for power. Its ultimate aim was stated, appropriately enough, by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
“Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ In occultism the serpent is a symbol of wisdom, and for centuries magicians have devoted themselves to the search for the forbidden fruit which would bring fulfillment of the serpents promise. Carried to its furthest extreme….to make himself a god.”

In 1988 Mark Braham published the book titled: “New Ideas in Environmental Education” which was used as the resource book by the INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES/ COMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNTIES.
“The source of our planetary problems lies at that point in evolution at which instinct was transformed to intention through the agency of human life. Like so many events, it is recalled in myth and retold down the ages in the legend of the Garden of Eden.
Traditionally, the Serpent is the symbol of Wisdom, and God’s messenger on Earth. Hence, the Serpent symbolizes consciousness, a point well understood by yogis and those practitioners who know somewhat of kundalini, the ‘serpent power’, that, rising, through the hierarchy of chakras or centers of consciousness, as they are understood to be in Hindu and Buddhist thought, enables the initiate to acquire successively higher states of awareness.”
“The Serpent, as the principle of consciousness, fecundated Eve, the Earth Mother, who in turn, gave is to a new Adam, a new type of Man…
By eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam broke the bounds of instinct and entered the realm of mind, with its potential for reflection and choice. Our time is one that is marked by a spiritual quest. Although there has been a loss of faith in traditional religious practices, and little satisfaction in the secular of the past decades, there is a widespread search for meaning that may include, but cannot be satisfied by, ordinary rationality.”

THE GAME of KINGS AND THRONES

Let me remind you that the word of God has a historicity of conflict reflected in a constant struggle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness for the souls of all men and women on planet earth.

2013 Kaleb Nation has published the novel “Harken”
Drawing upon three years of research and real-life interviews, in his book he weaves fact with fiction and explores questions many are afraid to ask. Who really controls our world? Are disasters coincidental or planned?
How much of Harken is true? This is his conclusion:
“Coincidence is merely the puppeteer’s curtain, hiding the hands that pull the world’s strings.”

Journalist McLean Gordon wrote in 2012
“In a system like Nazi Germany, where social acceptance was the reward for evil, the socially normal individual sees evil as good. Doing evil becomes nothing more than healthy self-interest, and the horrifying irony is that the person committing unimaginable cruelty comes across in other social contexts as a perfectly “normal” uninteresting individual, no more conspicuous than the rumbled businessman sitting next to you in the train.”

“Adolph Eichmann, the Nazi bureaucrat who supposedly signed off on the Holocaust and helped organize Hitler’s death camps, was not necessarily a blood-hungry monster. To look at, he was an average looking guy with thinning hair, a pencil pusher.
“Except for the extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement, the had no motives at all,” Hannah Arendt, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, wrote in her searing account of Eichmann’s 1962 war crimes trials; Eichmann was, as he tried to explain at his trial, “just following orders.”

Journalist Yasha Levine in his book “Google’s for-profit surveillance problem”
“The Google services and apps that we interact with on a daily basis aren’t the company’s main product: They are the harvesting machines that dig up and process the stuff that Google really sells: for-profit intelligence.”

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt
“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”
“It’s a future were you don’t forget anything…..In this new future you’re never lost…..We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time… Your car will drive itself, it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers……you’re never lonely….you’re never board….you’re never out of ideas….we can suggest were you go next, who to meet, what to read….What’s interesting about this future is that it’s for the average person, not just the elites.”

Bruce Schneider “Don’t listen to Google and Facebook”
“With every smartphone we buy, every GPS device we install, every Twitter, Facebook, and Google account we open, every frequent buyer card we use for purchases – whether at the grocery, the yogurt shop, the airlines, or the department store – and every credit and debit card we use to pay for our transactions, we’re helping Corporate America build a dossier for its government counterparts on who we know, what we think, how we spend our money, and how we spend our time.
What’s worse, it’s not just the surveillance you CONSENT to that’s being shared with the government, however. It’s the very technology you happily and unquestionably use which is being hardwired to give the government easy access to your activities.
The government motives aren’t too difficult to understand, but what do corporate giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple stand to gain from colluding with Big Brother? Money, power and control.
The main focus of massive Internet companies and government agencies both still largely align: TO KEEP US ALL UNDER CONSTANT SURVEILLANCE.
When they bicker, it’s mostly role-playing designed to keep us blasé about what’s really going on.”

The Art of War is one of the most useful books regarding wisdom when confronted by an enemy.
The Chines warrior Sun Tzu wrote it about 500 B.C. It would be very beneficial every Soldier of Jesus Christ to read and re-read this book.

Let me give you a few quotes:
“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.”

“Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in braking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

“We cannot enter into alliance until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.”

“Rapidity is the essence of war.”

If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.”

THE COVENANT-KEEPING GOD

A few important questions:
• Who initiated the Covenant Idea? (6:18)
• Why did God pick Noah as a covenant partner? (6:8-9)
• What did Noah do after the promise of God? (6:22-7:1-5)
• Who made sure Noah was safe? (7:16)
• What was Noah’s response to God? (8:20)
• What was God’s response to Noah? (8:21-22)
• Was Noah fully convinced? (9:8-17)

Chuck Swindoll has this to say about Genesis 11:1-9
“One of the greatest enemies of the Christian life is the religious life. Religion is the broad way that most people take, thinking that somehow, they can do something to please God. Christianity is the narrow way that helps us understand what God has done for us.
Religion is what I do for God. Christianity is what God has already done for me. Religion is an EFFORT. Christianity is a GIFT.
The reason religion is so appealing to us is that we like feeling as if we are giving God a boost. We enjoy talking about all we’re doing for God rather than emphasizing what He has done for us. It makes us feel important. At first, religion might sound like it’s focused on God. But in the end, it’s all about us – our achievements, our glory, and our pride.”

ABRAHAM, YOU NEED TO MOVE

Salvation is not based on behavior. Abraham believed and was accepted by God BEFORE he obeyed any rules.
Belief and Loyalty are related but not interchangeable.
“God’s laws were about showing God they weren’t going to be disloyal and align themselves with some other god. Being loyal believers would allow God to use the Israelites to minister to all the other nations like “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5-6).
God wanted humanity in his family. He was starting with one group – Israel. If they were loyal believers, they would be a blessing to all the other nations (Genesis 12:3)” Dr. Michael Heiser

A TITANIC STRUGGLE

Let’s make sure we all understand the most fundamental principal:
God placed his new creation, made in His image, in a special place called GARDEN OF EDEN, and gave them dominion over the entire earth to subdue it and to populate it. It went south right from the get-go.
But God still intended to dwell with humanity. However, there would be opposition. As Michael Heiser points out: “Divine beings in service to Yahweh could defect. Enemies of Yahweh and his rule, from the human to the divine to something in between, lurked over the horizon. Heaven and earth were destined to be reunited, but it would be a titanic struggle.
In the meantime, any effort to recapture God’s original intent apart from God’s own strategy and will for restoring Eden would end in disaster. There would be no Eden utopia revived by human beings or other gods. It would be a painful lesson.” Dr. Michael Heiser
Chuck Swindoll in one of his commentaries writes that Christians often talk about “walking with God”, so much so that these words can easily become cliché.
He gives this advice, which I pass on to all of you:
What happens when we walk with God?
1. The discipline of silence increases our sensitivity.
When I am always moving fast, always making noise, always being active, I become insensitive. But when I am quiet, the veneer is peeled away. I become more sensitive to God.
2. The reassurance of His will decreases our anxiety.
When I spend time with God, my anxiety is washed away.
3. The submission of obedience proves our humility.
When I do what God says, I prove to Him I am willing to submit to His will. I listen to Him and obey. This interaction solidifies our relationship and brings us into closer communion.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

“Nachash” means A SHINY DIVINER, one who gave out divine information. That’s exactly what Eve is getting from this divine being, divine information.
ANOTHER SPIRITUAL BEING THAT WE ENCOUNTERED IN THE GARDEN IS THE CHERUBIM.
The tempter in the Garden, that serpent of old, also known as the Devil is not a cherubim, but rather a Seraphim.
Seraphim: The meaning of the Hebrew word for “seraphim” is ‘FIERY SERPENT.”
Seraphim are reptilian/serpentine beings, also known in the Bible as watchers. There are good seraphim who PROCLAIM the Holiness of God and there are wicked seraphim who rebelled against the Most High at various times, and who became the pagan gods of the other nations.
Brian Godawa in “Enoch Primordial Appendix” explains:
“In Hebrew, satan is prefixed by the definite article HA which makes it translate more accurately as THE SATAN, or THE ACCUSER.
In the New Testament Greek, Satan is prefixed by the definite article HO, carrying the same result of THE SATAN as the adversary or the accuser.”
Why is all this important to know? Answer:
For way too long we have been taught that Satan was the highest cherub in God’s heavenly host, a worship leader with the name of Lucifer, who long before the Garden of Eden, rebelled by trying to usurp God’s seat of authority in heaven. He wanted to be “like God”. He was then cast out of heaven with one third of the angels and fell to earth, where he tempted Eve in the Garden as a snake, and now he is “Prince and Power of the air”, over the earth.
Lucifer was actually a Latin translation for the Hebrew words HELEL BEN SHAHAR, which means “Morningstar”, known to the ancients as the planet Venus.
“Satan occurs 27 times in the Hebrew Bible. Ten of those occurrences are without the article. Of these ten occurrences, seven refer to human beings and two refer to the Angel of Yahweh. That means nine of the ten instances clearly do not refer to the Devil or proper personal name, Satan.”
Peggy L.Day (An adversary in Heaven: Satan in the Hebrew Bible)

GOD CANNOT BE DEFEATED

Final Thoughts from last week:
• Eden was lost, God intends that it be restored
• His rule and His kingdom will return in its full scope when Jesus comes back and God creates a new heaven and earth.
• In the meantime, we can spread the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus everywhere.
• Consciously thinking of ourselves as God’s representative – his imagers- mean the decisions we make matter.
• We are a glimpse either of life with God or of a life without God. There is no middle ground.
• Understanding this truth will have an impact on how we see each other and relate to each other.
• Racism has no place in God’s world. Injustice is incompatible with representing God. The abuse of power – at home, at work, or in government – is ungodly.
• God cares about how each of us represents him where we are. We either stand against the darkness, sharing the life God wants everyone to ultimately experience, or we don’t. The opportunity does not need to be spectacular; it just needs to be taken.

No wonder so many Christians today are totally confused what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, what it means to be A CHILD OF GOD, what it means to LIVE THE RESURRECTED LIFE TODAY. And certainly, most people don’t even believe that it is important to know all these things.
• Do we really need to know what happened in the Garden of Eden?
• Do we really need to know that the “serpent” in the Garden wasn’t really a member of the animal kingdom?
• Do we really need to know about the connection between Genesis 3, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14?
• Do we really need to know what the Hebrew word NACHASH, translated “Serpent” really means?
• Do we really need to know what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote;
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the women was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:12-15

“the proper context for interpreting the Bible is the context of the biblical writers – the context that PRODUCED the Bible.”
“We do not share the cognitive framework of the biblical writers. While the implications may seem uncomfortable, it is hermeneutically pointless to pretend otherwise.” Dr. Michael Heiser

FREEWILL IMAGERS

In is book “What love is this?” Dave Hunt writes:
“The Calvinist claims that God, in His sovereignty (if He so desires), could stop all sin and cause everyone always to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly. This would be possible only if man had no free will. If that were true, however, what would be the point of giving the Law? God could have controlled human thoughts, words, and deeds so that without even knowing the Law, everyone would do exactly what the Law required.
Incredibly, Calvinism teaches that God gave the Ten Commandments, caused man to break them, then damned him for doing so. The Bible is thereby turned into a charade, man into a puppet, and God into a monster whom the atheist rightly rejects.
C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity:
“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can’t. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata -of creatures that worked like machines- would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they’ve got to be free.
Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. (…) If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will -that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings- then we may take it it is worth paying.”
Dr. Michael Heiser:
“Despite the risk of evil, free will is a wonderful gift. God’s decision was a loving one. Understanding that requires only a consideration of the two alternatives:
1. Not having life at all
2. Being a mindless robot, capable only of obeying commands and responding to programming.
If our decisions were all coerced, how authentic would those “decisions” actually be? If love is coerced or programmed, is it really love? Is any such decision really a genuine decision at all? It isn’t. For a decision to be real, it must be made against an alternative that could be chosen. We all know the difference between freedom and coercion. The IRS doesn’t tell you that YOU MAY PERHAPS pay your taxes by April 15.
When you behave wrongly, where would the emotional healing of forgiveness be if the person you offended was merely programmed to say those words, or coerced to say them? Free will is a gift, despite the risk.”

The idea of God wanting us to join his divine family, to be part of his council and live in his presence, helps us understand some amazing things the Bible says:
• It explains why the Bible refers to believers as “sons of God” or “children of God” (John 1:12; 11:52; Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:1-3
• It explains why believers are described as being “adopted” into God’s family (Galatians 4:5-6; Romans 8:14-16)
• It explains why we are said to be “heirs” of God and his kingdom (Galatians 4:7; Titus 3:7; James 2:5)
• It explains why we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4)
• It explains why, after Jesus returns, he says he will grant believers “to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7)
• It explains why he has promised to share the rule of the nations with us (Revelation 2:26-28)

Final Thoughts
• Eden was lost, God intends that it be restored.
• His rule and His kingdom will return in its full scope when Jesus comes back and God creates a new heaven and earth.
• In the meantime, we can spread the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus everywhere.
• Consciously thinking of ourselves as God’s representative – his imagers- mean the decisions we make matter.
• We are a glimpse either of life with God or of a life without God. There is no middle ground.
• Understanding this truth will have an impact on how we see each other and relate to each other.
• Racism has no place in God’s world. Injustice is incompatible with representing God. The abuse of power – at home, at work, or in government – is ungodly.
• God cares about how each of us represents him where we are. We either stand against the darkness, sharing the life God wants everyone to ultimately experience, or we don’t. The opportunity does not need to be spectacular; it just needs to be taken.

WHAT IS OUR DESTINY?

David Burnett in his MA Thesis titled: “Abraham’s Star-like Seed: Neglected Functional Elements in the Patriarchal Promise of Genesis 15”, states:
“Most Bible Interpreters take the promise of Genesis 15:5 as a numerical one. This is certainly the case, but here is a noteworthy stream of Second Temple Jewish interpretation – culminating in the New Testament – that considers the promise QUALITATIVE as well. The point is that believers, the children of Abraham through faith in the promised messianic seed, would not only be as numerous as the stars but would be made divine, as stars, the members of the heavenly host, were considered to be. Being made “like the stars” is part of the biblical theology of glorification or THEOSIS.”
“God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” John Wesley

WRESTLING with God

The life of Jacob covers HALF OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS. His birth is recorded in chapter 25 and his death is recorded in chapter 49. What we find between those two chapters are quite amazing stories about this man and the struggles he faced, because they are all pointing towards the struggles our forefathers faced and reveal the struggles or strongholds which we face today. Certainly, studying this man’s life will give us plenty of insight how NOT TO DO CERTAIN THINGS, and HOW TO DO CERTAIN THINGS IN LIFE.
God reveals Himself to Jacob and reaffirms the covenant He made with Abraham, Jacobs grandfather, promising Jacob that his offspring will be many and that the Promised Land will one day belong to his descendants. In this dream, Jacob sees something like a ladder or a stairway leading up to heaven. The Hebrew word translated “ladder” is SULLAM which simply means a connection between God and man.
What an encouragement to all of us who have been justified through faith in the work of God Himself through His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, who has become our ladder to heaven. Even after we became children of God, running from trouble, trying to ignore our strongholds, God comes along with a great encouragement, reminding us of the promises made long ago to our forefathers, reminding us that His promises and His covenant with us cannot be negated.
Jacob found out how the universal law of sowing and reaping is working its way through his life. He did not know that he had a stronghold of lying and deceiving, until he had to be on the receiving end of it. You see, our very own strongholds are not admitted as such until we are on the receiving end of it. Until someone else does the same thing to us and all of a sudden we can feel the pain, the hurt, the disappointment.
Jacob was still dealing and wheeling. Anxious for his life, he came up with the idea to bribe his brother with gifts of a caravan of goodies. He hoped he can pacify his brother. Once everything he could do was done, finally Jacob was physically exhausted and alone in the wilderness. He feared for his life. He was convinced that he would face death after the messengers he sent out came back to Jacob saying: We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him. At this moment Jacob realized that he is powerless to control his fate. With his father-in-law behind him and Esau before him, he was now too spent to struggle any longer. In the process, Jacob the deceiver received a new name, ISRAEL. But that is not all. The most important part of this struggle comes at the end. It was when God wrestled with Jacob that Jacob’s stronghold was taken down and demolished. And it was after his stronghold was demolished that GOD BLESSED HIM.
“… Jacob’s divine encounter at the Jabbok River was a magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God.” Frederick Buechner

Walking With God

The question is: Was this walk with God the exclusive privilege of a few super saints? Did God pre ordain who can walk with him and who cannot walk with him? Could it be that many people who call themselves Christians cannot walk with God, because they have never been born into God’s family by the Holy Spirit? And so it is with those who believe by having put their faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ instead of counting on their religious self-effort.
What assurance do I have that I am a child of God?
“The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field.” Vince Lombardi
There is no such thing as a secular job or sacred job. 7 days a week we are all responsible to glorify God by OBEDIENCE TO HIM. That’s walking with God.

The Blessings of Goshen

Joseph divinely positioned and prepared for such a time as this by God himself, he is inviting his family to move to Egypt, and there they would live in a land called Goshen, which means: ‘DRAWING NEAR’.
But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. In other words, Jacob and his entire clan was exposed to incredible evil. That’s one of the reasons God wanted Jacob and his family to be separated from these people. When they went down to Goshen, the place was prepared by God for them. When we draw near to God, which means we are separated from the wickedness of this world. The Hebrew writer is telling us that Jesus’ blood allows us to enter into God’s presence at any time. There are blessings in Goshen, blessings we can only receive when we DRAW NEAR TO GOD. Separation from the ways of the world. Provision by God Himself. Protection from the judgment of God upon this world.

Are You Bearing God’s Image?

I would say, Joseph was bearing God’s image. This does not mean that Joseph was perfect. No human being is, except the man of God, Jesus Christ. Bearing God’s image means: Having a powerful faith in God and a positive response to others.
Judah and his brothers went from intellectual faith, to emotional faith, and eventually to transforming faith.They are now bearing the image of God. They are now acting according to God’s Word. Now it’s not just faith, now it’s faith that works according to God’s Word.
They all passed the exam of attitudes.
Humanly speaking, the average Christian would not bear God’s image when faced with people who have done them such wrong. We would demand from the guilty to feel some of the humiliation and shame we felt when they did wrong. We know that they don’t deserve anything good coming their way. BUT LISTEN TO JOSEPH, a man who bears the image of God.

A Feast of Grace

Instead of presenting Benjamin to the Egyptian ruler and with that releasing Simeon from Prison and the charges of being spies being dropped, THEY RECEIVED AN INVITATION TO A BANQUET.
William Shakespeare, in King Henry VI, WROTE: “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.” Listen, guilt will always do that to all of us. Guilt has the power to cause us to say strange things at strange times. An Egyptian explaining to God’s chosen people what their God is doing. They could not see it, because they feared the worst.

We Have A Higher Calling

Jacob’s sons had a past that needed to be addressed by the Lord because their conscience constantly condemned them for what they had done. And as God’s chosen people, they have to confront this issue head on. Because GODLY CHARACTER IS A PREREQUISITE TO RULERSHIP. God will spare no pain in bringing us back to where we belong. Jacob’s sons are about to enter into God’s recovery program. There is no recovery from guilt and sin without facing them. The fruit of a grapevine is always on the new growth. This is the reason for pruning the vine. Without new growth there is little or no fruit.
God is always reminding his children that they have a higher calling than just making a living down here on earth. He is training them for ruler ship and insecurity is something that needs to be dealt with. Receiving God’s grace always brings us to a position of conviction of our sins. The gift of grace should always bring us to the place of repentance, a place that reminds us of our higher calling. Living for God and bringing Him glory.

Be an Outlet for God’s Blessings

The sovereignty of God. But what does that mean. It means that God has a very specific plan and purpose for all of us. It is always perfect in it’s wisdom and perfect in it’s timing.
HOW MANY OF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE RULED BY SOMEONE WHO KEEPS ALL THE BLESSINGS FOR HIMSELF AND TREATS HIS SUBJECTS WITH CONTENT?
Joseph said to Pharaoh, listen, I am not the one who has the wisdom and knowledge to interpret dreams. Such wisdom belongs to God. He is the one who will give Pharaoh the answer, not me. He probably will use me to do it, but it does not come from me. Apart from Him, I am nothing. Joseph did not receive such honor to absorb it for his own good and to bake in the Egyptian sun of power and prestige. God wanted Joseph to be an outlet of His blessings. He now had all the power to provide and protect for all the people under his care.

The Value of Hard Times

In 1963, an Anglican bishop by the name of John Robinson, published a book entitled, HONEST TO GOD, in which he coined the term: NEW MORALITY. Three years later, in 1966, Robinson was joined by Joseph Fletcher, the former dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Cincinnati. Both, Robinson and Fletcher suggested that the new morality allowed a person to choose a loving response for any situation. In other words, the New Morality took authority from the hands of God and placed it in the hands of men, allowing selfish permissiveness that suggested, “If no one gets hurt, anything goes!”
As we are being prepared to rule and reign with Christ on day, studying Joseph’s life will give us insight what kind of schooling we need and WHAT KIND OF TESTING WE WILL HAVE TO FACE. Prosperity and success is not a matter of CIRCUMSTANCES, but a matter of CHARACTER. When a man begins to develop a sense of satisfaction in his accomplishments, he opens himself up to temptation. And as we learn from Joseph, it takes a man of character to defeat that sort of temptation.
Joseph overcame because he had a conviction and he was loyal.

God’s Providential Care

How can we say that we believe that one day we shall rule and reign with the Lord on the earth? In order to get the Biblical answer to this question, we will study the life of Joseph, because God used him as an example to show us His WAYS AND METHODS to train us for ruler ship. GOD HAS PROVIDED EVERYTHING NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PLAN. When you become born again, you will receive a special gift with a special meaning. The Holy Spirit will be given to you as a deposit, a guarantee that we are heirs of God, children of God, and we will rule and reign with him.
When we come to Christ, we may be pure, but certainly not mature. Maturity comes only through years of suffering. And genuine love is only attained through such suffering. And without such love, there is no ruler ship. Even when it may see that dark clouds hover over our lives, the Lord is at work, superintending the details. Like we see in Joseph’s life, God is always working on our behalf.

How Awesome Is This Place

What is striking here is the fact that as Jacob is on the run, he certainly was not seeking God. Jacob is certainly not a candidate for a holy experience of worship! Grace and worship must go together. GOD’S GRACE MUST BE A PART OF TRUE WORSHIP. My friend, true worship must be an experience of God’s Presence. Jacob, overcome with fear, realized that he was at the very house of God, the gate of heaven. What he thought was a dead-end street was actually the gate of heaven, giving him a new purpose to live for God. Jacob the schemer started to acknowledge his need for God. When we worship the Lord, we will experience God’s purpose, which is a transformed life. It may start slowly, but God will do his work until it is done.

He Died In Faith

For Abraham to loose his wife was a very painful experience. Abraham was a man of faith and certainly his tears did not indicate any unbelief.
Abraham knew that Sarah was now in the Lord’s care. He had to say goodbye, but he did not loose Sarah.
“When you know where something is, you haven’t lost it.”
Too many people when they reach old age cannot experience what Abraham did. They live without faith and eventually cannot die IN FAITH.
“When they look back, it is with regret; When they look ahead, it is with fear; When they look around, it is with complaint!”
For us who trusted Christ, old age should be a time of rich experience in the Lord and a wonderful opportunity to share Jesus with the next generation.

You Have To Choose!

The story about Abraham’s servant going to look for a bride for Isaac, Abraham’s only son, is not just history, IT IS THEOLOGY. The PERFECT WILL of the Heavenly Father. Abraham was 140 years old and would live another 35 years after this. He knew the perfect will of the heavenly Father. The covenant promises to bless Abraham with many descendants. To give his descendants the land of Canaan as an eternal possession.
Genuine Faith also results in genuine obedience to God’s Word. God’s Word must give us the direction, because God’s word is the revealed perfect will of the Father for His children. It was God who brought Rebekah to the well at the right time. It was God who directed Abraham’s servant to that same well. But it was Abraham’s servant who had the right attitude towards the God of Abraham. The entire story makes it clear that God had chosen Rebekah for Isaac, for His providential leading is seen each step of the way. Yet, Rebekah had to make her choice of Isaac.

The Lord Will Provide

Faith provided by God does not demand explanations; instead, faith provided by God rests on God’s promises. When we do ask God for explanations, we reveal that we really don’t know ourselves as good as we should, and we certainly do not know God as well as we should. Like Abraham, we have to learn to live by promises, not by explanations. Abraham did not know HOW God would do it, or WHY God would do what He did, or WHEN God would do it, BUT HE BELIEVED GOD that whatever needed to be done, GOD WOULD PROVIDE. There are lessons to be learned, and one of them is that WHEN GOD WANTS TO PROVIDE OUR NEEDS, many times we must face the test alone. IT IS ONLY THEN THAT WE CAN SEE WHAT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REALLY CAN DO FOR US.

God Keeps His Promises

Sarah’s faith was not placed in the promise, but in THE ONE WHO IS FAITHFUL; GOD HIMSELF. Abraham and Sarah made some mistakes, they had some occasional failures in trusting God all the way. However, both of them endured to the end BECAUSE THE BELIEVED GOD. When Isaac finally arrived as promised, ABRAHAM AND SARAH SAW GOD’S POWER AT WORK. Ishmael was an obedient son, UNTIL ISAAC entered the family. It was then when the “flesh” began to oppose “the Spirit”. God gave them the fleshly blessings, the black oil which lubricates the world’s economy.
Isaac, however, received the spiritual blessing, the Holy Spirit, which is symbolized in the Bible with OIL. According to Galatians 4:21-31 Sarah represents grace, (the heavenly Jerusalem) and Hagar represents Law (the earthly Jerusalem under bondage). In other words, law and grace cannot live peacefully together. God’s children, born of the Spirit are to live under the blessings of grace and not the bondage of the law. Hagar gave birth to a slave. Ishmael was a slave. If you decide to live under the law, then you become a child of Hagar, a slave; for the law produces bondage and not freedom.

Revelation Brings Responsibility

Revelation always brings responsibility. What does it mean to walk blameless before the Lord? It is a call for integrity. Abram is to walk before God and to live in the knowledge that the eyes of God are always upon Him. The word translated blameless simply means to be
“single-hearted, sincere, fully devoted to the Lord.”
This is the secret of blameless walk before God: WORSHIP GOD LIKE ABRAM DID. FALL ON YOUR FACE BEFORE HIM AND YIELD TO HIM IN EVERYTHING. Circumcision was not an option, it was an OBLIGATION. Circumcision is the sign, the mark of a person’s relationship to God. Ishmael represents the fleshly things we do for God and it pains us to give up our cherished dreams. Our responsibility is to give up our Ishmael. Ishmael did not get a new name, because he represents the flesh, and the flesh cannot be changed.

Stay On The Main Road

People think that Genesis is simply an ancient history book. Living by God’s promises means living by faith in the one who made the promises and believing the promises He made to us. From God’s viewpoint, this trial was a character forming event. When circumstances are negative, we are more concerned about the promises of God than the GLORY OF GOD. Abram and Sarah did not break any laws, but they did deviate from God’s Word and through it were unable to have peace and joy in their family. Our God is never caught by surprise when we forsake the Main Road. He is eventually showing up to bring us back where we belong, unto the Main Road.

Keep Going – Keep Growing

There can be no growth without challenge, and there can be no challenge without change. That’s the way God designed our ‘SCHOOL OF FAITH CURRICULUM’. If nothing ever changes, you don’t need to learn to LIVE BY GOD’S PROMISES. If life is predictable, there are no challenges to overcome. And if there are no challenges to overcome, you will not be able to LIVE BY FAITH. Abram lived by Faith in the promises of God and through such actions Abram glorified God. Lot became a friend of the world, and Lot conformed to the world. • God was about to discipline Lot by making him a prisoner of war. God loved Lot, but he did not like what Lot was doing. So, like a loving and caring Father, God had to bring correction into Lot’s life. “Abram lived by the blessing of the Lord, not the bribery of the world. “