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

Sermons on Biblical Interpretation

THE THEOCRATIC ADMINISTRATOR

When Congressman from Florida criticized the EQUALITY ACT during the House debate saying:
“The gender confusion that exists in our culture today is a clear rejection of God’s good design. Whenever a nation’s law no longer reflects the standards of God, that nation is in rebellion against him and will inevitably bear the consequences.” (Rep Greg Steube (R-Florida)

Rep. Jerry Nadler pushed back:
“What any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress!”
Theocracy is a form of government: It is a government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided.
Contemporary examples of theocracies include Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Vatican. (Britannica.com)

The problem with all those contemporary theocracies is that they are not administrators of the God who created everything.
When it comes to Biblical revelation the technical term for this hierarchy, where God rules over man who in turn governs creation on God’s behalf, is the office of THEOCRATIC ADMINISTRATOR. This term simply refers to someone who governs for God. In other words, God ruled the world indirectly through the first Adam.
Hebrew scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum observes:
“The naming was the first exercise of man’s dominion: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof. Man begins exercising his dominion over the animal kingdom with the act of naming the animals. The ability to name or rename is the exercise of dominion and authority. In Numbers 32:37-38, the Reubenites exercised lordship by naming and renaming cities in captured territories. In 2 King 23:34, Pharaoh-Neco used his dominion over Judah to change the name of King Eliakim to King Jehoiakim. In 2 King 24:17, the King of Babylon used his dominion over Judah to change the name of King Mattaniah to King Zedekiah. So Adam’s naming of the animals was the exercise of man’s authority over the animal kingdom, and so it was.” “The Book of Genesis; Exposition from a Messianic Jewish Perspective”

What was the result?
Satan’s success in inciting this rebellion effectively removed the office of Theocratic Administrator from the earth, as Satan at that point became the ruler of this world. (Luke 4:5-8; John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19)

Charles C. Ryrie in his book “Basic Theology” writes:
“Why is an earthly kingdom necessary? Did He not receive His inheritance when He was raised and exalted in heaven? Is not His present rule His inheritance? Why does there need to be an earthly kingdom? Because He must be triumphant IN THE SAME ARENA where He was seemingly defeated. His rejection by the rulers of this world was on this earth. His exaltation must also be on this earth. And so it shall be when He comes again to rule this world in righteousness. He has waited long for His inheritance; soon He shall receive it.”

After the fall in Eden, the theocratic kingdom left the earth. This departure left the world without the benefit of the office of Theocratic Administrator until the time of Moses.

The Mosaic Covenant introduced a new component to God’s covenantal dealings with Israel.
• The Abrahamic Covenant was an unconditional covenant.
• The Davidic Covenant was also an unconditional covenant.
In other words, they rest completely upon God rather than Israel’s performance for their eventual fulfillment.
• The Mosaic Covenant is a conditional covenant.
Exodus 19:5-6
“Now then, IF YOU will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, THEN YOU shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Andrew Wood in his book “The Coming Kingdom” writes:
“Although the Abrahamic Covenantal promises and blessings are unconditionally guaranteed to come directly to Israel and indirectly to the entire world, these kingdom conditions will not manifest themselves until national Israel trusts Jesus Christ, her long-awaited King. Because there has never existed a Jewish generation that has complied with this condition, the messianic kingdom remains in a state of postponement up until the present hour. However, one day, a future generation of Jews will comply with this condition resulting in the establishment of the messianic kingdom of God on earth. As revealed in the pages of Bible prophecy, it will take the events of the future Tribulation period to bring such a generation to faith in Christ thereby leading to the manifestation of the earthly, theocratic, messianic kingdom.
Until this condition of Israel’s acceptance of her Messiah has been satisfied, the kingdom cannot come to the earth.

THE DAY IS COMING

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on Malachi writes:
“The people of Judah began to be exiled from the Promised Land in 605 B.C. and returned from Babylon about seventy years later. By the time of Malachi, they had been back in the land for more than a hundred years and were looking for the blessings they expected to receive when they returned.
Though the temple had been rebuilt, the fervor of those early returning Israelites had given way to a thorough apathy for the things of God. This led to rampant corruption among the priesthood and spiritual lethargy among the people.
Malachi came along at a time when the people were struggling to believe that God loved them. The people were focused on their unfortunate circumstances and refused to account for their own sinful deeds.
So, God pointed the finger back at them, and through Malachi, told the people where they had fallen short of their covenant with Him. If they hoped to see change, they needed to take responsibility for their own actions and serve God faithfully according to the promise that their fathers had made to Him on Mount Sinai all those years before.”

In his book ‘DARK AGENDA’ – “The war to destroy Christian America”, author David Horowitz (published 2018) writes:
“Religion must die in order for mankind to live”, proclaims left-wing commentator and comedian Bill Maher in RELIGULOUS, the most watched commentary feature of 2008.
Both title and script were transparent attempts to stigmatize religious people as dangerous morons whose views could not be taken seriously. Through the film, Maher travels to Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, as well as other centers of religion, interviewing believers and making them appear foolish. How did he gain interviews with his victims? HE LIED TO THEM, SAYING HE WAS MAKING A FILM CALLED ‘A Spiritual Journey.”
According to Maher, “THE IRONY OF RELIGION IS THAT BECAUSE OF ITS POWER TO DIVERT MAN TO DESTRUCTIVE COURSES, THE WORLD COULD ACTUALLY COME TO AN END.” He predicts the destruction of the human race as a result of “religion-inspired nuclear terrorism.” Hence the need for religion to die if mankind is to live. Maher’s views accurately reflect the attitudes of a movement called THE NEW ATHEISM, whose leaders are prominent scientists and best-selling authors, far superior in intellect to Maher but equally contemptuous of religion and religious believers.
Like Maher’s film, the New Atheism movement seeks to discredit all religious belief by caricaturing its adherents as simpletons, and worse. The goal of the New Atheism is to delegitimize and extinguish the religious point of view.”

Most people don’t realize that if God is dead,
THEN EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED, BECAUSE THERE ARE NO GROUNDS FOR CALLING ANYTHING – AN ACT, A STATEMENT, AN EVENT, A CHOICE, EITHER GOOD OR BAD, RIGHT OR WRONG, VALUABLE OR WORTHLESS, IMPORTANT OR UNIMPORTANT.

Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” (2006)
“Do we know of any……examples where stupid ideas have been known to spread like an epidemic? Yes, by God! Religion. Religious ideas are irrational. Religious believes are dumb and dumber. Religion drives otherwise sensible people into celibate monasteries or crashing into New York skyscrapers. Religion motivates people to whip their own backs, to set fire to themselves or their daughters, to denounce their own grandmothers as witches, or, in less extreme cases, simply to stand or kneel, week after week, through ceremonies of stupefying boredom.”

C.S. Lewis in his book “The Abolition of Man” writes:
“The triumph of personal desire over objective validity as a standard of behavior creates what is tantamount to a moral vacuum into which will rush disordered passions bloated in their abnormal freedom from any constraint.
The three passions are: THE LUST FOR SENSATION, THE LUST FOR MANIPULATIVE KNOWLEDGE, AND THE WILL TO POWER, respectively.
The egotistical will to power and pleasure supersedes any less explicit idea or sentiment of obligation to some criterion or good outside of self.
It assumes that the pleasure of self is the highest good and that life is an aesthetic phenomenon; under such conditions, society becomes a jungle in which eventually a contest for the survival of the fittest can only favor the Nazi, the Hell’s Angel, the robber baron, and the gangsters.”

THE NAZARETH MANIFESTO

Christopher Wright in his book “The Mission of God”, writes:
“The reign of YHWH, when it would finally come, would mean justice for the oppressed and the overthrow of the wicked. It would bring true peace to the nations and the abolition of war, the means of war, and training for war. It would put an end to poverty, want and need, and provide everyone with economic viability (under the metaphor “under his own vine and fig tree”). It would mean satisfying and fulfilling life for human families, safety for children, and fulfillment for the elderly, without danger from enemies, and all of this within a renewed creation free from harm and threat. It would mean the inversion of the moral values that dominate the current world order, for in the kingdom of God the upside down priorities of the beatitudes operate and the Magnificat is not just wishful thinking.”

J.D. Green in his book “Christology in Cultural Perspective”
“As Jesus stood on trial before the highest political-religious authority in all Jewish society, he calmly took to himself the identity of the “Daniel’s Son of Man”, whose authority would ultimately overthrow the beast of oppressive and persecuting powers (Daniel 7).
No wonder the chief priest tore his robes and cried blasphemy. It just won’t do when the chief priest is cast in the role of chief beast. Jesus’ radical claims and teachings were not just bursting old wineskins; they were enough to burst some political blood vessels.”
Matthew 4:17
From that day Jesus began TO PREACH, saying: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

John McArthur in his commentary on this verse writes:
“Jesus preached His message with certainty. He did not come to dispute or to argue, but to proclaim, TO PREACH. Preaching is the proclamation of certainties, not the suggestion of possibilities.”
“Repent involves a change of opinion, or direction, of life itself. To repent is to have a radical change of heart and will – and, consequently, of behavior.”

Christopher Wright writes:
“A change of political or economic or geographical landscape, a change of government, a change of social status may all be beneficial in themselves, but they will be of no eternal benefit unless the spiritual goals of exodus are also met. So to change people’s social or economic status without leading them to saving faith and obedience to God in Christ leads no further than the wilderness or the exile, both places of death.”

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Michael Heiser in his book “The Unseen Realm” in a summary statement says:
“The kingdom of God is already a present reality but isn’t yet realized. John the Baptist announced it. He introduced its king. Jesus preached its arrival and demonstrated what life in God’s Edenic world could and would be like; no disease, no infirmity, no demonic opposition.
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, Salomon, 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.

GOD SEEKS OUR WORSHIP

Worship has its focus on what we do with our lives.

John R.W. Stott
“Christians believe that true worship is the highest and noblest activity of which man, by the grace of God, is capable.”

Chuck Swindoll in his study Bible writes:
“It is attributing supreme worth to God, who alone is worthy of it. When we worship, that’s what we’re doing.
The purpose of the church is to cultivate worshipers. It isn’t a place to make business contacts or to go to check something off the weekly list or to bring your kids so they get something out of it. No, it’s a place to learn about our God so that our worship and understanding of Him become increasingly deeper and more meaningful. It’s a place where we give Him our praise and our gratitude.
Why is worship so important? Because it turns our full attention to the only One worthy of it.”

Jesus was using the element of water as a metaphor to describe a spiritual reality, something that would meet not just a need of the moment but a need for all eternity.

Chuck Swindoll has a wonderful commentary on verses 19-20
“Oh, you’ve been to seminary. You must be extremely smart. Let me ask you something I’ve always wondered about. How do you reconcile the great existential problem of God’s sovereignty and the free will of man?”
Only in her culture, the great debate revolved around the most appropriate place to worship an omnipresent God.

John 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

THE COVENANT-KEEPING GOD

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

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

THE POWER OF SALVATION

The Meaning of the Word Salvation:
The Greek word is “soteria” meaning to provide recovery, to rescue, to effect one’s welfare.
The Hebrew root word is “yesha” (the basis for the name Joshua and Jesus) signifies freedom from what binds or restricts and thus effects deliverance.
Salvation for many Christians has to do with something that happened to them in the past, or something they hope happened in the past.
For those people salvation has primarily to do with getting OUT OF HELL and getting in to HEAVEN.
I have no idea where this originally came from, but what I do know is that no matter how intense we search the entire Bible, NOT ONCE ARE WE BEING TOLD THAT WE ARE SAVED FROM HELL. It’s just not there.
What the Bible does say is THAT WE ARE SAVED FROM SIN. And Sin in its essence is A BROKEN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Sin separated us from having a relationship with God.
Salvation is the gracious work of God whereby He delivers undeserving, gospel-believing sinners from sin and its results; brings them into a right, vital relationship with Himself; and bestows on them the riches of His grace.

Dallas Willard in his book: LIVING IN CHRIST’S PRESENCE says:
“It’s not by accident that he (Jesus) says this, because that oneness, that community, is God’s signature. He doesn’t say, “May they be given ability to out-argue all their foes.” He doesn’t say, “May they be given the power to change the culture.” He doesn’t say, “May they be given really cool worship services.” Trinitarian fellowship is the foundation of the existence of that which is real.”
But eternal life is not AN EVENT. SALVATION IS NOT AN EVENT. SALVATION IS A PERSON. There is only ONE SAVIOR.

THE GLORY OF GOD

we have four texts taken out of the Word of God, all dealing with God’s Glory, and yet they all seem to say something different.
• Is God’s Glory the shining clouds
• Is it something the clouds point to
• Is it God’s honor or reputation connected with what we eat or drink
• Is it some standard to which you and I did not live up to
What is it?
What is the Glory of God?
כָּבוֹד kavod (Hebrew)
Literal meaning of this word is HEAVINESS, WEIGHT

In English we use the word heavy also as a metaphor.
• My heart is heavy when I heard your story
• This is a heavy message
We use this metaphor to describe that this message was intense and difficult to absorb or understand. And
• Literal: heaviness, weight
• Metaphorical: importance, reputation, honor
• Physical manifestation of one’s importance
• A Personal KAVOD = wealth & possessions

Why is this all important to understand? Because what the Biblical writer wants you to know is that KAVOD describes the reality of the physical weight, the wealth, the possessions, the importance, the reputation, the honor of people on this earth and then go OUTSIDE OF THOSE MANMADE ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND LOOK UP TO HEAVEN at night, look at the towering mountains, the beauty and splendor of God’s creation. It’s all real, things you can see and experience, we see and experience. The entire creation IS A REFLECTION OF GOD’S GLORY.
The entire realty of God’s Creation is God’s KAVOD.

YOU ARE HOLY

Diplomat and Philosopher Dag Hammarskjold wrote in the book titled MARKINGS:
“Respect for the word is the first commandment in the discipline by which a man can be educated to maturity – intellectual, emotional, and moral. Respect for the word – to employ it with scrupulous care and an incorruptible heartfelt LOVE OF TRUTH – is essential if there is to be any growth in a society or in the human race.
To misuse the word is to show contempt for man. It undermines the bridges and poisons the wells. It causes man to regress down the long path of his evolution.”

Easton’s Bible Dictionary
“Holiness in the highest sense belongs to God ( Isaiah 6:3 ; Revelation 15:4 ), and to Christians as consecrated to God’s service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God ( Romans 6:19 Romans 6:22 ; Ephesians 1:4 ; Titus 1:8 ; 1 Peter 1:15 ). Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance ( 1 Corinthians 1:30 ; 2 Corinthians 7:1 ; Ephesians 4:23-24).

קָדוֹשׁ “qadosh”
Qadosh literally means “to be set apart for a special purpose”.

The fundamental and core meaning, of the word “hagios”, is… “different, and unlike the rest”.
If you’re a Christian, then you are one of “the holy ones”. And do you know why you’re holy? It’s because you’re different. While we may not think of ourselves as “holy,” we are in fact set apart from the world to be Yahweh Elohim’s servants and his representatives. Yahweh set us apart for this very special purpose, to REPRESENT HIM ON THIS EARTH, not in the future only, BUT HERE A NOW. TODAY.

“IN THE BEGINNING”

Christianity Today Magazine published an article titled:
“The Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy in Our Churches”
“Christians claim to believe the Bible is God’s Word. We claim it’s God’s divinely inspired, inerrant message to us. Yet despite this, we aren’t reading it. A recent LifeWay Research study found only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over 40 percent of the people attending read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month. Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible—essentially the same number who read it every day.”
……Our lack of biblical literacy has led to a lack of biblical doctrine. LifeWay Research found that while 67 percent of Americans believe heaven is a real place, 45 percent believe there are many ways to get there—including 1 in 5 evangelical Christians. More than half of evangelicals (59 percent) believe the Holy Spirit is a force and not a personal being—in contrast to the orthodox biblical teaching of the Trinity being three Persons in one God. As a whole, Americans, including many Christians, hold unbiblical views on hell, sin, salvation, Jesus, humanity, and the Bible itself.

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on this subject writes:
“When Moses told the story of creation, he drew upon the literary symbol of light to communicate an important truth. After the formation of space and matter, the Lord filled the void and formless earth with light – literal light, yes, but not merely illumination. Before He fashioned physical sources of light on the fourth day – the son, moon, and stars – He filled the universe with the light of His presence, with truth, the foundation upon which everything else would be built. Before giving the world order (dividing day from night, sky from earth, dry land from ocean), the Lord suffused every atom with His truth so that everything would reflect His character.”

THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

Herbert Lockyer in his book: All the Miracles in the Bible, says:
“No longer is the Lord the One suffering with and in His people. Here He stands ready to lead them into the Promised Land. Israel is now to look upon Him, not as an ally or an adversary, BUT AS THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.”
Jerry Boykin in his book “The Warrior Soul” made a small list of those flaming darts of the evil one.
• Every temptation to cheat is a bullet.
• Every temptation to shade the truth is a bullet.
• Every temptation to take unearned financial benefit is a bullet.
• Every temptation to develop an illicit immoral relationship is a missile.
• Every temptation to slight your King of Kings is a major missile.
Live and die by your training in the finest warrior’s manual ever written – the Word of God.

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.

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.

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.

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

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”!