Friday, September 20, 2013

Predestined for Glorification

We cannot earn salvation, and we can never lose salvation, because salvation is based not upon what we do, or promise to do, but upon what Christ has already done for us! What an astounding truth to ponder and really come to understand; a gift declaration of righteousness to those who could never gain that declaration through performance.

Does that mean that once we are saved, we can just go out and do anything we want to do; live anyway we want to live and still be saved? Self-sanctification is sitting at the core in a negative way in the mindset of the person who is posing that question.

Paul proves that question to be just the opposite. Grace is a much greater motivator. It is the love of God that constrains us, not fear that God is going to strike us dead, or allow us to be a part of the second death if we perform what we should not be performing, or do not measure up through our performance.

Are people set apart as holy in God’s sight because of their lack of sin, or are people set apart as holy in God’s sight because he has joined them to his son? God has a purpose for those who believe, by placing the believer into his son.

God did not predestinate us to believe, he predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his son, because he knew who would believe. Should we just go out and sin all the more now that we know that God’s grace is given to us as a gift simply when we believe his son died for our sins, and put those sins off the table of God’s justice.

We must understand that God has predetermined to glorify us. In fact, God has predestined us to that glorification. To predestinate simply means to decide and decree in advance the destiny of something.

The natural man has his mind tuned in only to the channel of his own human perspective; satisfying the lust of his flesh; the lust of his eyes; and the pride of life. If something is not logical to the natural man’s way of thinking, he refuses to believe it, whether God said it or not, he wants to remain in his comfort zone.

God is not giving out his righteousness as a reward to those who are sorry for the past, and who promise to do their best in the future. At the point of our belief in what Christ accomplished where our sins are concerned, we are as closely associated with Christ as anyone could be, we are joined to him.

What an ingenious salvation plan, to take someone else that is righteous and join us to that person, therefore what is Christ’s is ours! It is a gift, a declaration of rightness with God, and this comes totally apart from that unrighteous person’s production. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our Hope

As believers, we do not possess the life that Jesus got when God raised him from among the dead as an inherent quality any more than we possess God’s righteousness as a property in our own nature. Just as in the midst of our sinfulness, we are righteous, so in the midst of our self-evident mortality, we are going to get the life God gave to Jesus.

In John 5:26, Jesus was “to have” that life that God has within himself, Jesus never had that kind of life before, he was to have it. In 1 John 1:1-5, Jesus indeed got that life, his disciples testify he got that life he was telling them he was going to get.

As a result of our being sealed in Christ, we are what we are not. In ourselves, we are not righteous and not immortal, but in Christ, we are both righteous and immortal. The fact that the living saints will meet with Christ at the same time as the sleeping saints indicates that the latter have not yet been united with Christ in heaven.

Paul was not concerned about a ‘state’ which exists between death and resurrection, but for a relationship that exists between the believer and Christ through death. This relationship of being with Christ is not interrupted by death, because the believer who sleeps in Christ has no awareness of the passing of time.

Paul did not think the question of the status of the person between death and resurrection was a question that needed to be considered. The reason is that for Paul, those who die in Christ, their relationship with Christ is one of immediacy, because they have no awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection.

Paul explains that both the sleeping and living believers will be united with Christ, not at death, but at his coming for his body of believers in this age of Grace. Paul never alluded to the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection, that is a notion totally foreign to Paul and to Scripture as a whole. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Yahweh's Sanctuary

In contrast to the land, Yahweh’s sanctuary can be purified for moral impurity by means of a special sacrifice. The blood of the animal, the blood of the sacrifice is the key to the whole ritual. Blood, the blood that courses through one’s veins, represents the life force; the Noahide covenant, you may not spill human blood. And you may not eat animal flesh that has the lifeblood in it, because the blood is the life and that belongs to Yahweh, that’s holy. So the life force is holy, and the life force is in the blood; Leviticus 17:11, repeats the blood prohibition, and  then it offers a rationale. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have assigned it to you for making expiation for your lives upon the altar.” Yahweh assigned it to them to use in sacrificial practices. It is the blood as life that effects expiation, purging and atonement. The blood of sacrificial animals is assigned by Yahweh as a detergent, if you will, to cleanse the sanctuary of the impurities that are caused by the sinful deeds of the Israelites. Purification of the sanctuary was believed to be critical to the health and the well-being of the community. If the sanctuary is not purged of impurity, it can become polluted to the point when Yahweh is driven out entirely. The purification offering acts on the sanctuary, not on the offerer. It purges the sanctuary of the defilement that is symbolically; it has symbolically suffered from the offerer’s state of ritual impurity or sinfulness. Once the sanctuary is purged, the offerer has settled his debt, he’s repaired the damage he caused. He’s fully atoned, and Yahweh is no longer repelled by the impurity that marred his sanctuary.

Matt. 27:51, the earthquake that fractured the rock opened a fissure that ran down through 20 foot of solid rock into a cave and cracked the stone lid on top of a black stone volt where the Ark of the Covenant lie hidden inside, pushing the lid aside. John 19:34, the blood of Jesus ran down through that crevice and dripped onto the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant that was hidden by God and the prophet Jeremiah, right under where they crucified Jesus, 620 years earlier when the Babylonians destroyed Salomon’s temple. The Greek word used for “the cross” on which Jesus was put to death is “stauros,” which denotes an upright pale or stake. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone. There is nothing in the Greek of the New Testament even to imply two pieces of timber. The blood of Jesus would do no good for the Israelites dripping on “stauros!” The issue with God today is the son, not sin; because the blood of Jesus dripped on “stauros” or  dripped on “the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant?”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

After the Body is Lifted Off the Earth

After the Body of Christ is lifted off the earth, the whole period of the Day of Yahweh is called the final meeting of the ages, or the Greek word “sunteleia”; but, the crisis in which it culminates is called the end of the age, or the Greek word “telos.” These two Greek words are rendered “end” in the New Testament, but the use of these two words must be carefully distinguished.

Sunteleia denotes a finishing or ending together, or in conjunction with other things. It implies that several things meet together, and reach their end during the same period; whereas telos is the point of time at the end of that period. The sign of the telos is the setting up of “the abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel the prophet.

Thus the telos, those who endure to this, the same shall be saved, and will be among the overcomers specially referred to in these seven letters during the Great Tribulation; to whom these promises are made, and to whom they peculiarly refer.

The Great Tribulation, which is the central subject, but Daniel is not permitted to do much more than make known the fact of the Great Tribulation out of which Daniel’s people, the Israelites were to be delivered. The particulars and the circumstances of that day, were not to be made known at that time by Daniel.

We take it therefore that the opening of the seals of this 7-Sealed Book is the enlargement and development of the Book of Daniel, describing, from Yahweh’s side, the judgments necessary to secure the fulfillment of all that he has foretold. However, there is something more in this 7-Sealed Book then the mere continuation of Daniel’s prophecies, but there must be that which calls for all these judgments and requires the putting forth of all this power.

If this 7-Sealed Book has to do with the whole subject of prophecy, with its causes, and not merely with its consequences and its end, then it may well take us back to the beginning when man was driven out from Paradise, when Adam forfeited his inheritance; and the promise of a coming Deliverer and Redeemer was given.

Who has the right to redeem the forfeited inheritance, the lost Paradise? Satan is in possession of this world now, and as such Satan was able in a peculiar way to tempt him who had come to redeem it, in the only lawful way in which it could be redeemed. Who is worthy, who will act the Goel’s (or Redeemer’s) part for man and for Israel, and recover his lost estate.

This 7-Sealed Book was given to the one worthy to open the seals, in connection with such a transaction for a much weightier Redemption of Creation, both by unanswerable right and unequalled might. For the Goel was an avenger as well as a redeemer.

The themes which form the whole Books subject: The removal of the curse from creation, the redemption of the purchased inheritance, the ejection of the great usurper; and all accomplished through the payment of the redemption’s price by the merits of the promised coming Deliverer, and the putting forth of redemption power.

But the payment of the price is only one part of the work of redemption. If the price be paid and there be no power to take possession and eject the holder, the payment is in vain. And if power be put forth and exercised in casting out the usurper, without the previous payment of the redemption price, it would not be a righteous action.

So that for the redemption of the forfeited inheritance, two things are absolutely necessary, price and power. What ought we to look for as the first thing which has the end of the “many days” and “the time of the end”? The price has been paid in the shedding of the precious blood of the promised Deliverer; and now, the necessary power is to be exercised so as to secure all its results, in wresting the inheritance from the hand of the enemy by ejecting the present usurper, and forcibly taking possession.

We see this power put forth in the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls, which fill up the active judgments of Yahweh in accomplishing this, and which end with the coming of the promised Deliverer himself. As the 7-Sealed Book begins to be opened, six seals are separated off from the seventh; as though to point out to us that the seventh is not immediately consecutive on the sixth, as the other seals are consecutive one on the other, the sixth seal evidently carries us forward to the time of the end.

The Day of Yahweh will be a prolonged period; it must not be confined to “seven years,” as is so often done. These events may occupy a period of thirty-three years; and if to these we add the seven years of the last week of Daniel, we have a period of forty years. Matt. Chapter 24, “What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the sunteleia of the age?”

Jesus describes four of those seals, and adds, “All these are a beginning of sorrows.” This fixes these first four seals as the “beginning” of the sunteleia of the Day of Yahweh. This “beginning” may be spread over some years before the Great Tribulation, proper, comes on. Not one of these seals has yet been opened, nor can any period of history be pointed out in which these first four seals have been in operation simultaneously.