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.

"Dr. Michael Heiser" Tagged Sermons

JESUS TRIUMPHANT

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS which is a compilation of 31 letters written by a SENIOR DEMON NAMED SCREWTAPE TO HIS NEPHEW, WORMWOOD, a Junior TEMPTER.
Screwtape reveals the Enemy’s intentions:
“Now it may surprise you to learn that in His (the Enemy’s) efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense.
But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really DOES want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself – creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.
We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become SONS. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; HE IS FULL AND FLOWS OVER. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself; THE ENEMY WANTS A WORLD FULL OF BEINGS UNITED TO HIM BUT STILL DISTINCT.” C.S. Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”
“One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth.”

Dr. Michael Heiser comments on this topic:
“First Peter 3:14-22 has Jesus descending to these “spirits in prison” to tell them they were still defeated, despite his crucifixion. God’s plan of salvation and kingdom rule had not been derailed – in fact, it was right on schedule. The crucifixion actually meant victory over every demonic force opposed to God. This victory declaration is why 1 Peter 3:14-22 ends with Jesus risen from the dead and set at the right hand of God – ABOVE ALL ANGELS, AUTHORITIES AND POWERS. The messaging is very deliberate and has a supernatural view of Genesis 6:1-4 at its core.”

Application
Perhaps you’ve been told a narrative counter to the New Testament testimony concerning the miraculous, bodily resurrection of Jesus. But the fake news pushed by the Jewish leaders then and by so many academics in the secular and religious leaders today, demand a closer analysis.
• The empty tomb is a fact of history.
• That the Jewish leaders alleged that the body was stolen is an implicit admission of the fact that was not there.
• The early, widespread, and numerous independent eyewitness accounts of encountering the resurrected Jesus are impossible to ignore.
Ultimately, however, accepting the truth of the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus IS AN ACT OF FAITH.

FAULTY EXPECTATIONS

As Michael Heiser in ‘THE UNSEEN REALM’ explains:
God issues four commands. All four commands are grammatically plural in Hebrew. That means that Yahweh is commanding a GROUP. The group cannot be Israelites or a collective Israel, since it is Israel that Yahweh is commanding the group to comfort, speak to, and call. You should know the identity of the group by now: THE DIVINE COUNCIL.
The context of Isaiah 40 is a new beginning for Israel, Judah. The remaining two tribes had spent seventy years in captivity in Babylon. God brought them out of exile and back to the land. However – and this is frequently overlooked – the other ten tribes never emerged from exile. They were lost, scattered among the disinherited nations. But the coming of the messiah will result in redemption for ALL THE TRIBES. Yahweh will draw his children from EVERY TRIBE AND NATION, whether Abraham’s literal descendants or not.”
“With the arrival of the messiah, the apostle John casts John the Baptist in Isaiah’s role. Like the prophet of old, John the Baptist has “stood in the council and answered the call. To a Jew familiar with the Old Testament, the pattern would not be lost. The calling of John the Baptist tells the reader that Yahweh’s divine council is in session again, only this time the aim is TO LAUNCH THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH THE SECOND YAHWEH, no incarnate, as its point man.”

Mark 1:9-11 And it happened that in those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. And immediately as he was coming up out of the water, he saw THE HEAVENS BEING SPLIT APART (schizo) and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.”
“schizo” is a verb used in Exodus 14:21 to describe the miraculous parting of the sea.

Exodus 15:11 (Moses asked the rhetorical question:
“WHO IS LIKE YAHWEH AMONG THE gods?”

Michael Heiser explains it this way:
“The New Testament story, then, begins with a dramatic revisitation of Yahweh’s call to the divine council to send someone to announce the appearance of Yahweh in the man Jesus of Nazareth. That much will become evident to friend and foe, human and divine. The strategy behind the appearance of the king, however, IS CLOAKED. It had been over 500 years since the return of Judah from exile. The emergence of Jesus, born and raised in obscurity, from the water launches a battle of wits that entangles both the divine and the human realms.”

Luke presents the Lord’s view of the kingdom of God in two parts:
In part 1 Jesus briefly answered the Pharisees’ question about the
Part One: THE TIMING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Part Two: NATURE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

First: The kingdom will not come right away.
Second: During the King’s absence, people will claim the Kingdom has come.
Third: Jesus reveals HOW the kingdom will be established on earth

CREATED TO IMAGE GOD

Rod Dreher in his book titled: “Live not by Lies” writes:
“Over the past few years, America has seen the rise of a chilling ‘soft totalitarianism’ -something more ‘Brave New World’ than ‘1984’.
Identity politics are beginning to encroach on every aspect of life. Progressives attempt to marginalize conservatives, traditional Christians, and other dissenters, sneering at the idea of civil liberties protecting their beliefs. Corporations now censor opinions with which they disagree. Technology is inching us toward a surveillance state, and consumerism has dulled our spirits and made us willing to accept a secularism imposed not by gulags but by ‘softer’ means.
Despite these warning signs, many American Christians fail to recognize the dangers, and even fewer know what they can do to resist. Meanwhile, the men and women who survived communist oppression have been sounding the alarm that their souls and their liberties are already at stake.”

Later in his book he makes this observation:
“The modern age is built on the Myth of Progress. By “myth,” I mean that the concept of historical progress is foundational to the modern era and built into the story we tell ourselves to understand our time and our place in it. Believers in the Myth of Progress hold that the present is better than the past and that the future will inevitably be better than the present.
The myth is a powerful tool in the hands of would-be totalitarians. It provides a transcendent source of legitimacy for their actions, and frames opposition as backward and ignorant. Understanding how communists manipulated the Myth of Progress is important to grasping how today’s progressives roll over the opposition.
Those steeped in the teachings of Marx believed that communism was inevitable because History – a force with godlike powers of determination – required it.”

The author Milan Kundera published the book “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (originally written in Czech)
“A leftist is a shared belief that humanity is on a “Grande March” toward Progress.
The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles notwithstanding, for obstacles there must be, if the march is to be the Grand March.”

Rod Dreher makes this comment about the “Grand March”:
“If Progress is inevitable, and the Communist Party is the leader of society’s Grand March to the progressive future, then, the theory goes, to resist the Party is to stand against the future – indeed, against reality itself. Those who oppose the Party oppose progress and freedom and align themselves with greed, backwardness, bigotry, and all manner of injustice. How necessary – indeed, how noble – it is of the Party to bulldoze these stumbling blocks on the Grand March and make straight and smooth the road to tomorrow.”

LTC Robert Maginnis “Progressive Evil”: “In 1956 Russia’s Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev said: “We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within…”
Progressives are fulfilling Khrushchev’s promise by making this country impotent, a socialist state controlled by amoral wealthy elites who seek to overthrow America from the inside out by redefining our rights, our institutions and ideals.”

Dr. Michael Heiser “The Unseen Realm”
“Humankind was created as God’s image. If we think of imaging as a verb or function, that translation makes sense. We are created to image God, to be his imagers. IT IS WHAT WE ARE BY DEFINITION.
The image is not an ability we have, but a status. We are God’s representatives on earth. To BE human is to image God.
This is why Genesis 1:26-27 is followed by what theologian call the “dominion mandate” in verse 28. The verse informs us that God intends us to be him on this planet. We are to create more imagers in order to oversee the earth by stewarding its resources and harnessing them for the benefit of all human imagers.”

Rod Dreher in his book titled: “Live not by Lies”
Believers in the Myth of Progress hold that the present is better than the past and that the future will inevitably be better than the present.

The Czech playwriter and future post-communist president Vaclav Havel published an essay in 1978 titled:
“The Power of the Powerless; Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe”
“A person who lives only for his own comfort and survival and who is willing to live within a lie to protect that, is a DEMORALIZED PERSON.
The system depends on this demoralization, deepens it, is in fact a projection of it into society. Living within the truth, as humanity’s revolt against an enforced position, is, on the contrary, an attempt to REGAIN CONTROL OVER ONE’S OWN SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY.”

A.W. Tozer in his book “The Dangers of a Shallow Faith” writes:
“Christian liberty is freedom to live in the Spirit, unhindered by externals. Christian liberty is freedom from fear of the government, freedom from fear of your sins, freedom from fear of God’s service, freedom from fear of the devil, freedom from black cats and birds and amulets and spells and charms and wizardry, freedom from religious bondage of every kind, and freedom from the iron yoke of traditions. Christian liberty is freedom to live in the Spirit and worship God in Spirit and Truth.

THE STAKES ARE HIGH

Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983) “Marching Orders for the End Battle”
“In order to realize the worth of the anchor we need to feel the stress of the storm.”

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom

Dr. Michael Heiser in “The Unseen Realm” writes:
“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.
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 had planned, and as Jesus provoked.
The Kingdom of God establishes a permanent beachhead at the foot of the cross and the door of the empty tomb.”

Dr. Michael Heiser: “The Unseen Realm”
“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, and 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.”

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed Lamb contesting the vote.” Benjamin Franklin

THE PRINCIPLE OF AGREEMENT IS FUNDAMENTAL HOW THE SPIRITUAL WARFARE OPERATES
“In reality, what Christians call “spiritual warfare” is more than just spiritual; it’s a collusion of spirits and human organizations that have the power to either heal and reconcile or divide and conquer the nation by stirring hatred between genders, races, and social economic classes. I believe that riots and civil unrest in cities are connected by a threefold cord joining the vulnerabilities of people, the agenda of political/social organization operating in cities, and the territorial spirits that dominate a geography. As activities come into a territory, they activate the people and stir up the territorial spirits to mobilize manifestation.” Lance Wallnau “God’s Chaos Code”

On June 15, 2020, a program hosted by the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Cullors and Melinda Abdullah, co-founders of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, discussed the role that spirituality has played in the Black Lives Matter movement. “In the interview, Abdullah said it took her almost a year before she realized BLM was much more than a racial and social justice movement. “At its core, it’s a spiritual movement,” she said.
Cullors, in startling detail, revealed the extent to which they are tapping into the spirit realm when calling out the names of the victims.
“It is literally almost resurrecting a spirit so they can work through us to get the work that we need to get done.” Abdullah added that, “We become very intimate with the spirits that we call on regularly. Right, like, each of them seems to have a different presence and personality. You know, I laugh a lot with Wakiesha, you know, and I didn’t meet her in her body. Right, I met her through this work. Wakiesha Wilson was an African American women found dead in a Los Angeles jail in 2016.
These are more than slogans; they are an appeal to the spirits of the deceased to rise up and work through her and others.” Lance Wallnau “God’s Chaos Code”

Bob Woodson is a faith-filled man who works with people that are struggling:
“Spiritual work is practical work, and the real systemic problem isn’t racism, it’s greed.
In 1960, when the government started spending 22 trillion, 70 cents of every dollar did not go to the poor, it went to those who served the poor. They asked not which problems are solvable, but which once are fundable. And so what happened is we’ve created a commodity out of poor people.
And so, as a consequence, there was no incentives to solve problems of the poor because the careers of those serving them were dependent upon having people to serve.
Up until 1960, eighty-five percent of all black families had a man and a women raising children. That figure is now reversed; 75 percent of all African American families today are single-parent house holds.
So social policies of the 60s did what racism couldn’t have accomplished before. And that’s why in the black community, you’ve seen the families disintegrate over the last 50 years, when prior – but a hundred years prior to that, black families were intact.” Bob Woodson “Countering NY Times 1916 Project”

“The American storm is larger than racial, gender, and political division. When the disciples feared that the storm would sink the boat, they cried out and waakened Jesus who arose to rebuke the storms. The challenge for us is that there is no physical Jesus to awaken – IT IS THE SLEEPING BODY OF CHIRST THAT MUST AWAKEN AND SPEAK TO THE STORM.
Angry waves have overtaken the ship, and demonic winds may lash the vessel violently, but God is on board this boat. To quell the ferocity of the storm, it’s going to take all of us finding our place in the midst of the crisis, the chaos, and the call of God.” Lance Wallnau

BUILDING THE TEMPLE

“THE STARS OF GOD” are probably symbolic of angels or Elohim
(spiritual beings of the Divine Council over which Yahweh presides)
“MOUNT OF THE CONGREGATION” refers to meeting place of spiritual rulers around God’s throne.
“THE HEIGHTS OF THE CLOUDS” refers to God’s spiritual magnificence, the Shekinah glory.

Dr. Michael Heiser in his book “Supernatural” writes:
“He got a rude awakening. Since the Serpent’s deception led to Adam and Eve’s sin, he was expelled from God’s home and banished to earth – the place where death reigns, where life is not everlasting.
He became lord of the dead, which meant that the great enemy now had claim over all humans since the events in Eden meant the loss of earthly immortality. Humanity would now need to be redeemed to have eternal life with God in a new Eden.”
“The fallout was a series of curses. The curse upon the Serpent included a bit of prophecy. God said Eve’s offspring and that of the Serpent would be at odds. “Then Yahweh God said to the serpent……I will put hostility between you and between the women, and between your offspring and between her offspring” (Genesis 3:14-15 LEB).
Who are Eve’s offspring? Humanity. And who are the Serpent’s offspring? Well, that’s more abstract. The apostle John gives us examples – like the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus. “You are of your father the devil.” Jesus told them (John 8:44). Jesus called his betrayer, Judas, a devil (John 6:70). The serpent’s offspring is anyone who stands against God’s plan, just as he did”.

Carl Teichrib in his book “Game of Gods” writes:
“Humanity has three great desires:
• TO BE AS GOD
• TO BE MASTERS OF MEANING AND DESTINY
• TO BUILD HEAVEN ON EARTH”

This is nothing new: In 1891, Ernest Renan published the book titled: “The Future of Science”
“Science is a religion, science alone will henceforth make the creeds, science alone can solve for men the eternal problems, the solution of which his nature imperatively demands.”

Simon Schama published the book “Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution”
“Christianity, “that infamous thing,” was to vanish in revolutionary fervor. Politicized Christendom would be overthrown by the enlightened masses who, armed with reason guided by passion, were themselves led by men of conviction. Churches were vandalized, mounds of hymn books burned, and “ceremonies of mockery” witnessed priests denouncing their faith. Even the Gregorian calendar was dissolved, with its even-day week replaced by a ten-day cycle dedicated to the veneration of nature. And as each month was structured with an even thirty days, the year would end with an extra five-day block set aside for humanist festivals.”

On November 10, 1793, a Festival of Liberty and Reason was held in the “liberated” Cathedral of Notre Dame. Yale Professor Franklin Baumer in his book “Religion and the Rise of Scepticism”, describes what happened:
“As the Spectators entered the cathedral, they saw, some doubtless with astonishment, the insignia of Christianity covered up and their place taken by the symbols of a strange new religion.
Rising up in the nave was an improvised mountain, at the top of which perched a small Greek temple dedicated “TO PHILOSOPHY” and adorned on both sides by the busts of philosophers.
Halfway down the side of the mountain a torch of TRUTH burned before an altar of REASON. Then ensued a bizarre ceremony which culminated in the emergence from the temple of a beautiful women, an actress of the Paris Opera, dressed in red, with, and blue garments, who personified LIBERTY.
The spectators proceeded to render homage to LIBERTY by stretching out their arms to hear and singing a hymn…….”COME, HOLY LIBERTY, INHABIT THIS TEMPLE, BECOME THE GODDESS OF THE FRENCH PEOPLE.”

Carl Teichrib observes:
“Modernity is an umbrella label for an epoch that witnessed a number of movements and ideas expressing a similar outcome – the humanist progression of society, wherein authentic knowledge and meaning are discovered by NATURALISTIC determination and no Christian revelation. In general, Modernity, often used interchangeably with MODERNISM, upheld humanistic rationalism as the arbitrator of truth. Reason, therefore, proclaimed the goodness of Man over the Christian teaching of original sin, celebrated individual autonomy without moral guilt, worked through industries to harness the beast of nature, and looked to naturalism social guidance. Man became the center of the universe.”

In 1918 Benjamin Kidd, a British social theorist, published his book titled: “The Science of Power”
“Once effectively imposed, this idealism (humans are molded by the social pressure) becomes the expression of the living soul of a people. Its influence cannot be estimated. It subordinates everything. It becomes Power incarnate.
The great secret of the coming age of the world is that civilization rests not on Reason but on Emotion.
It is clearly in evidence that the science of creating and transmitting public opinion under the influence of collective emotion is about to become the principle science of civilization to the mastery of which all governments and all powerful interests will in the future address themselves with every resource at their command.”

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.”

THERE ARE TWO PLANS

JESUS CAME TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM.

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on this text writes:
“For many years, faulty information had been taught by the religious aristocracy. With unquestioned authority, these religious leaders twisted the meaning of Holy Scripture, offered interpretations that were simply wrong, and demanded applications that were frankly impossible. Not content to let God’s Word speak for itself, they added to the commandments of God and required that everyone obey their additions without hesitation.
When Jesus sat down and delivered His illustrious Sermon on the Mount, jaws must have dropped as His audience heard an entirely different interpretation, delivered in an entirely different mode of communication.”

Dr. Michael Heiser in his book “Supernatural” writes:
“Though Eden was lost, God intends that it be restored. Ultimately, his rule – his kingdom – will return in its full scope when Jesus comes back and God creates a new heaven and earth (one that, in Revelation 21 and 22 looks a lot like Eden.)
In the meantime, we can spread the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus everywhere. We can also represent God to everyone we meet and in every place. We are God’s agents to restore Eden in the here and now, looking forward to the day when Jesus brings that plan to a climax.”

John Stott says it this way in his commentary on Matthew:
“Christian righteousness is greater than pharisaic righteousness because it is deeper, being a righteousness of the heart.
The righteousness which is pleasing to him is an inward righteousness of MIND AND MOTIVE.”

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO CHANGE

Dallas Willard in “The Divine Conspiracy”
Bar-Code Faith
Think of the bar codes now used on goods in most stores. The scanner responds only to the bar code. It makes no difference what is in the bottle or package that bears it, or whether the sticker is on the ‘right’ one or not. The calculator responds through its electronic eye to the bar code and totally disregards everything else. If the ice cream sticker is on the dog food, the dog food is ice cream, so far as the scanner knows or cares.
On a recent radio program a prominent minister spent fifteen minutes enforcing the point that ‘justification’, the forgiveness of sins, involves no change at all in the heart of personality of the one forgiven. It is, he insisted, something entirely external to you, located wholly in God himself.
His intent was to emphasize the familiar Protestant point that salvation is by God’s grace only and is totally independent of what we may do. But what he in fact said was that being a Christian has nothing to do with the kind of person you are. The implications of this teaching are stunning.
The theology of Christian trinkets says there is something about the Christian that works like the bar code. Some rituals, some belief, or some association with a group affects God the way the bar code affects the scanner. Perhaps there has occurred a moment of mental assent to a creed, or an association entered into with a church. God ‘scans’ it, and forgiveness floods forth. An appropriate amount of righteousness is shifted from Christ’s account to our account in the bank of heaven, and all our debts are paid. We are, accordingly, ‘saved’. Our guilt is erased. How could we not be Christians?
For some Christian groups the ‘account’ has to be appropriately serviced to keep the debts paid up, because we really are not perfect. For others – some strong Calvinist groups – every debt past, present and future is paid for at the initial scan. But the essential thing in either case is the forgiveness of sins. And the pay-off for having faith and being ‘scanned’ comes at death and after. Life now being lived has no necessary connection with being a Christian as long as the ‘bar code’ does its job.

R.T. France in his commentary gives us the answer:
“These large “crowds” are said to “follow” Jesus, the same term which in verses 20 and 22 denoted the first disciples’ total change of lifestyle….
A radical commitment to accompany Jesus.
Yet as the narrative progresses, we shall find only a few who are Jesus’ constant and committed companions, while a less easily defined “crowd” comes and goes. This wider group represents a pool of possible “full-time” recruits, but generally their “following” seems to be more sporadic and temporary.
The verb “follow” alone is not therefore a sufficient indication of full-scale discipleship. Mark 3:7-8 is perhaps more exact in describing this interprovincial crowd as simply “coming to” Jesus.”

Michael Heiser in “Supernatural” writes:
“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.
Everything we do and say matters, though we may never know why or how. But our job isn’t to see – it’s to do. Walking by faith isn’t passive – its purposeful.”

DO YOU BELIEVE?

Carmen Joy Imes in her book “Bearing God’s Name” writes:
“Matthew’s gospel breaks neatly into five blocks of teaching, mimicking the five books of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).
These five blocks of teaching are preceded by an introductory story in which Jesus’ life is in danger because King Herod, like Pharaoh, is killing Jewish babies. To escape, his parents take him to Egypt. It’s an inside-out Exodus story. When the coast is clear, they return to Palestine, retracting Israel’s journey from Egypt to the promised land. Next, we fast forward to Jesus’ adulthood, where he passes through the waters of baptism in the Jordan, reminding us of Israel’s crossing both the Red Sea and the Jordan.
After this, Jesus is sent by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days, where he reenacts Israel’s wilderness wanderings.”

Baptism does not produce salvation in this text, Rather, it corresponds to something that does, THE DEATH OF JESUS (v 19) and the RESURRECTION (v 21)
“Baptism saves” if one makes a decision; a pledge of loyalty oath,
a public proclamation of who is on the Lord’s side in the cosmic war between good and evil.
Every Baptism is therefore a reiteration of the past and future doom of the Watchers in the wake of the gospel and the kingdom of God.
Early Christians understood the typology of this passage and its link back to 1 Enoch and Genesis 6:1-4.
This is why early baptismal formulas included a renunciation of Satan and his angels. Baptism was anything but routine. It was a symbol of spiritual warfare.” Dr. Michael Heiser “Reversing Hermon”

Who is Azazel?
We find the Biblical text in Leviticus 16:7-10
“And Aaron shall take the two goats, and he shall present them before Yahweh at the tent of assembly’s entrance. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for Yahweh and one for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot for Yahweh fell, and he shall sacrifice it as a sin offering. But the must present alive before Yahweh the goat on which the lot for Azazel fell to make atonement for himself, to send it away into the desert to Azazel.”

R.T. France
“His Father is testing him in the school of privation, and his triumphant rebuttal of the devil’s suggestions will ensure that the filial bond can survive in spite of the conflict that lies ahead.”

Dr. Michael Heiser in the “Unseen Realm” makes this comment about that temptation:
“Had Jesus given in, it would have been an acknowledgment that Satan’s permission was needed to possess the nations. It wasn’t. Satan presumed power and ownership of something that, ultimately, was not his but God’s. The messaging behind Jesus’ answer is clear: Yahweh will take the nations back by his own means in his own time. He doesn’t need them to be given away in a bargain. Jesus was loyal to his Father.”

HIS NAME IS JESUS

Dr. Michael Heiser (The Unseen Realm)
“The kingdom of God had failed in the Old Testament, but it would rise from the ashes when the divine king made his appearance. The messianic king would inaugurate a kingdom that would spread throughout the earth and eventually succeed in restoring Eden.
These ideas are familiar. Less apparent, however, is the way the Old Testament characterizes the launching of God’s kingdom as a war between gods and men.”

Michael Kibbe in his book “OUR FUTURE IN THE FACE OF JESUS”
“Through the incarnation, Yahweh has come to be with his people and save them. The name “Immanuel” implies not only that God’s presence is evident in the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, but that Jesus is Yahweh himself, come to be with his people.”

Carmen Joy Imes in her book “Bearing God’s Name”
“For Jesus, CALLING on God’s name is not enough, nor is prophecy, exorcism, or miracles done in his name. The key disposition of one who truly belongs to God is a commitment to action – doing his will rather than one’s own.
The name of God is not a charm to be used at will. It is not a magic amulet to guarantee protection. Those who fail to carry out God’s will bear his name in vain. Jesus had no patience for those whose verbal proclamations do not match their agenda.
He condemns the Pharisees and scribes for having lips and hearts that contradict each other, saying that they “worship God in vain.”
They walk around wearing official religious titles, but their hearts are haughty and self-reliant.”

THE ONE WHO CONQUERS

George Elliot said it right:
“What makes life dreary is absence of motive. What makes life complicated is multiplicity of motive. What makes life victorious is singleness of motive.”

Francis Schaeffer:
“Man, made in the image of God, has a purpose; to be in relationship to God, who is there. Man forgets his purpose and thus he forgets who he is and what life means.”

In one of the commentaries on the book of Philippians, the author writes:
“Christians who cease to stand out begin to blend into their surrounding culture.”
“When the mindset and values of secular society concerning lifestyles, faith, morality, responsibility, conduct, marriage, sexuality, and truth influence one’s mind and take hold of ones’ heart they inevitably affect one’s attitude and behavior. Society begins to influence the life and mission of the church rather than the other way around…
Tragically, light gives way to darkness.”

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.