We welcome you to our Church Family
and invite you to actively participate
in worshipping our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

Sermons by Pastor Ernest Amstalden

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.

WORKING WITH GOD

In our text we notice 4 incredible statements that will guide us through our study:
• Jesus Christ IS THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD
• Jesus Christ IS THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING IN THE SPIRITUAL AND THE PHYSICAL REALM.
• Jesus Christ CREATED THRONES OR DOMINIONS OR RULERS OR AUTHORITIES (all in the spiritual realm)
• Jesus Christ CREATED THE CHURCH OF WHICH HE IS THE HEAD, the firstborn from the dead to bring us back into fellowship with our Creator.
Dr. Michael Heiser (THE UNSEEN REALM)
“God does not act without purpose. He created the heavenly host, intending that they carry out his will. Did he create them to meet some need in him? No. A complete, perfect being has no deficiencies. God has no need of a council, but he uses one. Similarly, God did not need humans to steward his creation, or later on, to reveal that Messiah had come. But those were his choices as well. God delighted in creating proxies to represent him and carry out his wishes. His decisions in that regard have ramifications.”
Patrick D. Miller (Israelite Religion and Biblical Theology):
“The creation of the human creature is the establishment of a representative from the divine world to rule the created order. The image of the divine ones is placed on earth to embody and represent the divine ones in subduing, ruling, and governing the earth. The creation of male and female provides for the sustaining of that rule in the perpetuation of the creation.”
Dr. Michael Heiser:
“…. God rules over the heavenly realm and the earthly realm with the genuine assistance of his imager-representatives. He decrees and they carry out his commands. These points are clear. What is perhaps less clear is that the way God’s will is carried out and accomplished is open – imagers can make free decisions to accomplish God’s will. God decrees the ends, but the means can (and apparently are at times) left up to the imagers.
This balance of sovereignty and free will is essential for understanding what happened in Eden. The choices made by human and nonhuman beings described in Genesis 3 were neither coerced nor needed by Yahweh for the sake of his greater plan. The risk of creating image bearers who might freely choose rebellion was something God foresaw but did not decree.”

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

THE GOD OF ORDER – Part II

Dr. Michael Heiser:
“A biblical writer would use “Elohim” to label any entity that is not embodied by nature and is a member of the spiritual realm. This “otherworldliness” is an attribute all residents of the spiritual world possess. Every member of the spiritual world can be thought of as “Elohim” since the term tells us where an entity belongs in terms of its nature.
The spiritual realm has rank and hierarchy; Yahweh is the Most High.”

“The New Testament marks the rebirth of a struggle thousands of years in the making. The people of God have been isolated and under foreign rule. The divine presence of the days of Moses, David, Solomon, and the prophets is nothing but memory. When angels visit Mary and Zechariah to announce the impending births of Jesus and John, centuries of divine silence are broken. Thirty years later Judea will explode. The unseen spiritual conflict is even more volatile.” Dr. Michael Heiser “The Unseen Realm”

THE GOD of ORDER

The church of today is bending under the weight of its own rationalism.
Today’s church tradition forces us to believe that God’s heavenly hosts is another term for angels.
The term that describes the NATURE of the heavenly host
The nature describes what the members of the heavenly host are or are like
The term that describes the STATUS of the heavenly host
The status describes the hierarchical rank of the members of the heavenly host with respect to God and each other
The term that describes the FUNCTION of the heavenly host.
The function describes what the members of the heavenly host do.

Francis Schaeffer in his book “True Spirituality” is talking about this very subject:
“The Mount of Transfiguration makes is very, very plain that the supernatural world is not a long way off. One does not have to take a spaceship and fly for two generations, producing the second generation in flight, in order to reach the supernatural world……
This is the emphasis of Scripture, that the supernatural world is not far-off, but very, very close indeed.
Speaking of Christ on the Emmaus road, Luke wrote: “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:31)
It would in fact be better to translate: “He ceased to be seen of them.” Luke does not say that Christ was no longer there. In this particular place they simply did not see him any longer.”
Dr. Michael Heiser:
“A biblical writer would use “Elohim” to label any entity that is not embodied by nature and is a member of the spiritual realm. This “otherworldliness” is an attribute all residents of the spiritual world possess. Every member of the spiritual world can be thought of as “Elohim” since the term tells us where an entity belongs in terms of its nature. The spiritual realm has rank and hierarchy; Yahweh is the Most High.”

STRANGE but TRUE

• Heaven will be on Earth (Revelation 21-22)
• Eternal Life will be lived out in a new Eden – a global paradise.
• Having been transformed to be like the risen Christ, believers in the new Eden inherit the rule of the nations.
• Jesus grants us the privilege of sharing his throne with him to rule the earth.
• The nations are currently ruled by fallen sons of God, who enslave their populations. (Psalm 82:1-7)
• The Apostle Paul declares that these fallen sons of God will be removed and we as believers will be judging these “Angels”. (1 Corinthians 6:3)

“The members of God’s family have a mission: to be God’s agents in restoring his good rule on earth and expanding the membership of his family. We are God’s means to propel the great reversal begun in Acts 2, the birth of the church, the body of Christ, until the time when the Lord returns. As evil had spread like a contagion through humanity after the failure of the first Eden, so the gospel spreads like an antidote through the same infected host. We are CARRIERS of the truth about the God of Gods, his love for ALL NATIONS, and his unchanging desire to dwell with his family in the earthly home he has wanted since its creation. EDEN WILL LIVE AGAIN. Dr. Michael Heiser
Understanding the Supernatural, which must include the theology of the heavenly host, is indispensable for conceiving our eternal destiny as co-rulers with Jesus.
• The term that describes the NATURE of the heavenly host
The nature describes what the members of the heavenly host are or are like

• The term that describes the STATUS of the heavenly host
The status describes the hierarchical rank of the members of the heavenly host with respect to God and each other

• The term that describes the FUNCTION of the heavenly host.
The function describes what the members of the heavenly host do.
Terms that describe THE NATURE of the heavenly host
• Spirit RUAH plural RUAHOT
• Heavenly Ones SAMAYIM
• Stars KOKEBIM
• Holy Ones QEDOSIM
• Gods/Divine Beings ELOHIM
• Angels MAL’AKIM
• Mighty Ones GIBBORIM
• Demons SHEDIM
Each of those terms in the Old Testament describes the SPECIFIC NATURE of God’s heavenly host. Those names do not describe their rank in the spiritual hierarchy. The names simply reveal to us WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY ARE LIKE.
They are first and foremost SPIRITUAL BEINGS. Most of them do God’s biddings, that is they are loyal to God Almighty and execute God’s decrees. They are also a part of God’s Divine Council. They have access to God’s Throne Room where all decisions are made.