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 by Pastor Ernest Amstalden (Page 3)

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.

WE CANNOT STOP THE SEASONS

In 1997, William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote a book entitled:
“The Fourth Turning”
The subtitle reveals the rest of the story: “What the Cycles of History tell us about America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny.”
Here are their findings:
• The FIRST TURNING is a HIGH, an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays.
• The SECOND TURNING is an AWAKENING, a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime.
• The THIRD TURNING is an UNRAVELING, a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and a new values regime implants.
• The FOURTH TURNING is a CRISIS, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.
The authors make it very clear that these turnings, these rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension.

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.

YOU ARE COMPLETELY FREE

Philip Yancey ins his book “DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD writes:
I found that for many people there is a large gap between what they expect from their Christian faith and what they actually experience. From a steady diet of books, sermons, and personal testimonies, all promising triumph and success, they learn to expect dramatic evidence of God working in their lives. If they do not see such evidence, they feel disappointment, betrayal and often guilt.” Philip Yancey

C.S. Lewis nails it when he writes in Mere Christianity:
“Either we give up trying to be good, or else we become very unhappy indeed. For, make no mistake: If you are really going to try to meet all the demands made on the natural self, it will not have enough left over to live on. The more you obey your conscience, the more your conscience will demand of you. And your natural self, which is thus being starved and hampered and worried at every turn, will get angrier. In the end, you will either give up trying to be good, or else become one of those people who, as they say, “live for others” but always in a discontented, grumbling way – always making a martyr of yourself. And once you have become that you will be a far greater pest to anyone who has to live with you than you would have been if you had remained frankly selfish.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“The God of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchant, a merchant.”

GOD HAS YOUR PLAN

“Many of us choose to do nothing while waiting on God to bring about a change in our lives or get us out of difficult situations. But the only time you are to do nothing is when there is nothing to do. If there is nothing you can do, then do nothing. But if God has given you something to do where you are right now, do it with all your might. Invest in your surroundings right now.
As you become a blessing to others, you set yourself up to be blessed. As you help others locate and live out their destinies, you set yourself up to discover your own.
People often lose hope because they are concerned only about themselves. If you are messed up and all you can see is you, you are perpetuating your own decline.” Dr. Tony Evans
God clearly states: I HAVE YOUR PLAN. I MADE THE PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE. Most people read and quote Jeremiah 29:11 only. If we do so, we miss the whole point, the principle, and the blessings. When the testing comes our way, we run from it. We question God’s love for us. We blame others we think caused the testing.
We fight against everything that could in the slightest way be connected with suffering. We shrink back and withdraw from others because they do not join us in our misery. In other words, we do NOT BELIEVE THAT GOD HAS OUR PLAN.

PRIORITIES THAT GLORIFY JESUS

C.S. Lewis under the title: A GRIEF OBSERVED makes this comment after grieving the death of his wife, Joy:
“What sort of a lover am I to think so much about my affliction and so much less about hers? Even the insane call, ‘Come back,’ is all for my own sake. I never even raised the question whether such a return, if it were possible, would be good for her. I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?”
R.C. Sproul comments about this verse:
“I will never obey the truth of God apart from the power, grace, and assistance of the Spirit. We are living in strange times in terms of how the church functions. We have been caught up with a fierce desire to find a way to relate to a culture that has been immunized to Christianity. We try to find new methods to reach the lost. The motivation is righteous, because we should have compassion for the lost. The danger comes when we ask the lost how they want to come into the kingdom of God, how they want to worship God, and how they want to hear God’s Word, and then tailor our method to their tastes and preferences. THAT IS FATAL. Sooner or later the church must come back to confidence in God’s way of doing God’s work, because the Bible does give us A BLUEPRINT FOR EVANGELISM.
…It is accomplished by the method of proclaiming the Word of God, which, as Peter says here, changes lives and purifies souls through the power of the Holy Spirit.
…We must never negotiate those fundamental, biblical methods of worship, preaching, evangelism, and spiritual growth.”

RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP

“Christ didn’t send us into the world as vacationers on a self-guided tour of a playground but as soldiers on a tour of duty in a battlefield. We’re not called to kick back, relax, take in the scenery, and wait for our Guide to take us home. We need to arm ourselves with spiritual armor to withstand the temptations of this world.” Chuck Swindoll
C.S. Lewis in his classic: Mere Christianity writes:
“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God. The present state of things is this. The two kinds of life are now not only different but actually opposed. The natural life in each of us is something self-centered, something that wants to be petted and admired, to take advantage of other lives, to exploit the whole universe. And especially it wants to be left to itself; to keep well away from anything better or stronger or higher than it, ANYTHING THAT MIGHT MAKE IT FEEL SMALL.
It is afraid of the light and air of the spiritual world, just as people who have been brought up to be dirty are afraid of a bath. And in a sense, it is quite right.
IT KNOWS THAT IF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE GETS HOLD OF IT, ALL ITS SELF-CENTEREDNESS AND SELF-WILL ARE GOING TO BE KILLED AND IT IS READY TO FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL TO AVOID IT.”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his excellent book ‘Joy Unspeakable” writes:
“Perhaps the greatest danger of all for Christian people is the danger of understanding the Scriptures in the light of their own experiences. We should NOT INTERPRET SCRIPTURE IN THE LIGHT OF OUR EXPERIENCES, but we should EXAMINE our experiences in the light of the teaching of the Scripture.”

EDEN WILL BE RESTORED!

Satan is walking about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Aragorn: “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.”
Prof. Hugo De Garis (artificial brain designer):
“The prospect of building godlike creatures fills me with a sense of religious awe that goes to the very depth of my soul and motivates me powerfully to continue, despite the possible horrible negative consequences.” Prof. Hugo De Garis
Joel Garreau in his book RADICAL EVOLUTION writes:
“The ability to tinker with our genes offers the astounding promise – and peril- of immortality, which mythically has been the defining difference between gods and mortals. It also offers the possibility of an even greater variety of breeds of humans than there is of dogs.” Joel Garreau
Terry James in the book “The dawn of techno-dimensional spiritual warfare” writes:
“In recent years, astonishing technological developments have pushed the frontiers of humanity toward far-reaching morphological transformation that promises in the very near future to redefine what it means to be human. And international, intellectual, and fast-growing cultural movement known as TRANSHUMANISM intends the use of genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology (GRIN technology) as tools that will radically redesign our minds, our memories, our physiology, our offspring, and even perhaps our very soul.” Terry James

O LORD, PLEASE OPEN HIS EYES

Question of the week:
What difference does this truth make in your life, having your eyes now opened to the reality of this intense spiritual battle between God Almighty and the fallen angels, and how does this truth affect your behavior since you now know that your loyalty to God is being watched every day by both sides of the spiritual war?
Quote by Michael Heiser
“Many people think of the New Testament as a recounting of the life of Jesus and the apostles sprinkled with a collection of letters sent by Paul to churches with odd names. While we follow these men and their lives and read the correspondence, the New Testament is so much more.
The New Testament makes 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.
Every chapter of the New Testament provides a glimpse into this conflict. The cosmic geography of the Old Testament is evident in the New. Where Jesus goes and what he says and does when he gets there is framed BY CONFRONTATION WITH UNSEEN POWERS. The conflict pursues him unto death – as God has planned and Jesus provoked. THE KINGDOM OF GOD ESTABLISHES A PERMANENT BEACHHEAD AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS AND THE DOOR OF THE EMPTY TOMB.
The rest of the New Testament draws heavily on Old Testament motifs. Jesus is gone but present, just as Yahweh was in heaven invisible yet on earth in human form. The seed of Abraham, scattered to the winds in exile, turn out to function like spiritual cell groups secretly planted in every nation under the dominion of the hostile gods. The kingdom spreads slowly but relentlessly, one new believer at a time. EVERY CHURCH IS A NEW POCKED OF RESISTANCE, EVERY BAPTISM ANOTHER PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE MOST HIGH, EVERY CELEBRATION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER A DENIAL OF FELLOWSHIP WITH LESSER MASTERS AND A PROCLAMATION OF THE SUCCESS OF YAHWEH’S MYSTERIOUS PLAN.
The lines are drawn. The stakes are high. The enemy desperate. The fullness of the Gentiles will come, all Israel will be saved, and the Deliverer will come from the heavenly Zion.
IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME. Dr. Michael Heiser

LIVING BY BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES

Question of the week:
We all know that the Bible clearly states that we are Ambassadors of Jesus Christ, that is, we are representative of the Heavenly Kingdom on this earth. As such, we do not have authority beyond what has been bestowed upon us to represent the King of Heaven. Why is this kingdom principle of uttermost importance to make a wife/husband relationship fulfilled and blessed? You may want to study John 5:18-23 to find the kingdom principle at work.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE

Question of the week:
Hebrews 4:12 states that ”THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND ACTIVE, SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD, PIERCING TO THE DIVISION OF SOUL AND OF SPIRIT, OF JOINTS AND OF MARROW AND DISCERNING THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTIONS OF THE HEART.” What does this verse SAY TO YOU PERSONALLY, and what other Scripture verses can you find that will help you see the importance of feeding on the Word of God daily?

THE RESURRECTION CHANGES EVERYTHING

1 Corinthians 15:1-7 John 11:17-27 1 Corinthians 15:12-22; 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 1. His followers WITNESSED HIS MIRACLES 2. His followers EMBRACED HIS TEACHINGS Matthew 13:1-23 3. His followers WATCHED HIS CRUCIFIXION John 19:25-30 4. His followers DISBELIEVED HIS RESURRECTION John 20:1-10 • YOU MUST DIE SO HE CAN LIVE HIS LIFE THROUGH YOU. Galatians 2:20 •…

RESTORING THE GARDEN OF EDEN!

Question of the week:
In His early days of ministry, Jesus primarily ministers to the Jewish people. His focus changed in Mark 5:1 when He intentionally entered the country of the Gerasenes which is Gentile territory. This is in the geographical region of Bashan. The demons in Mark 1:24 asked Jesus a question. The demons in Mark 5:7 do the same. However, there is a great difference;
WHAT is different and WHY is this so important?

THE COSMIC BATTLE

Question of the week:
When tempted by the devil to jump from the top of the temple to prove that he was the son of God, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16-17. This is an excerpt from Moses sermon to Israel AFTER they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. The “real-time” incident is recorded somewhere else in the Old Testament. WHERE can you find this story and WHAT was the real temptation Israel faced?

THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF OUR FAITH

Question of the week:
Hebrews 12:2 declares: “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
How does faith work since Jesus is the founder (author) and perfecter (finisher)? Is there anything for us to do to let faith work or does Jesus do it all for us?

THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Question of the week:
The Apostle Paul informs us that “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Compare that with Jesus’ saying found in Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are gathered in my name,
I am there in the midst of them”. What does that all mean and how is it connected with the Holy Spirit and spiritual warfare?
Back up your answer with Biblical examples hat shed light on this topic. Send your answer through the “contact”!