Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘God’ Category

“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not (Ch.28:16). ”

This well known story throws up some important theological concepts.

Firstly sleep is a symbol for death.

What is sleep? God caused Adam a deep sleep and he slept (Ge.2:21) The Spirit used it in the sense mentioned above.

We shall consider sleep now in normal sense. The idea here is that sleep is from God. It is a blessing. It is a rest that is a shadow of God’s Rest from his labours. He sanctified end of His Creative Day as a Holy Day. The Preacher has this verse to observe what man may rightfully claim as his due at the end of each working day. “The sleep of a labourer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep (Eccl5:12-NIV)”. In contrast to what God has provided for man, what is wealth but what he generates by his own efforts. This boils over even after the day is done so much so it is insomnia that he has to cope with.

Secondly it gives us an insight into God’s Time, which is how the Spirit correlates God’s Will with life of man. Time and space do not make sense for eternal God. When God visited King Abimelech in a vision and warned him on account of Sarah it was for the present. When He gave Daniel a series of visions (Dan.10-12:9) it was for ‘the time of the end.” The vision of the ladder with each rung going up to the Lord must be several events hinged on one another. Angels going up and down signifies a door has been opened for the sleeper. It is reminiscent of St John’s vision (Re.4:1-2). The Spirit gave him a foretaste of the Salvation Plan of God as it were, which in narrating is for our benefit. As soon as he woke up he realized where he was. He exclaimed, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” This indicates our foreknowledge comes from God who equips each man for His service. Gift of prophecy is a gift. Gift of interpreting is yet another. Such are gifts the Spirit distributes to each accordingly so glory of God must be set as paramount.

Thirdly we need address an often-overlooked piece, namely the stones that served Jacob as pillows.

“…He (Jacob) took stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep (28:11).”

These stones serve as a memorial. This act is to be seen as a symbolic act very similar to Joshua at the crossing of Jordan (Jos.4:23). Jacob was a man fleeing for safety and was in a strange place settling down for a night’s rest. God’s vision was a private and it was to assure His protection.

Like the Shekinah glory of God separated the mercy seat and the Ark of the Testimony from surrounding areas the vision was a memorial to him. From what Jacob did following day we get the idea as to what it meant to him. Each of us is Bethel meaning the house of God. This idea is transferred to stones that served for pillows in the night. He set the stone up and poured oil upon the top of it. ‘He called the name of that place Beth-el; but the name of that city was called Luz at the first (vs.19).’This holds spiritual significance for us. Born again experience in a child of God marks a change over from serving the world. Pouring oil over the stone naturally indicates the infilling Spirit. The following verses are of help to us.

“Know you not you are the temple of God?

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;(1 Co.6:19;3:16-NIV)”

We can well appreciate the seven churches in Asia minor were such stones as Jacob found; these local churches were not the Church of Christ but indicative of God’s Will concerning the Body of Christ.

Benny

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

“And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau,…and put them upon Jacob her younger son…(Ge.27:15-16) ”

Jacob coached by his mother approached his father who blindly felt him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ Feeling somewhat uneasy Isaac asked for confirmation, ‘Art thou my very son, Esau? And he said, I am (Ge.27:22-24):’ Both mother and younger son played to win and when the time came to bless his son Isaac smelled the raiment and curiously enough he saw Esau before him. He said, “See the smell of my son is as the smell as the smell of a field which the Lord hath smelled (Ge.27-29).”

The same zeal that Jacob showed to supplant his elder brother in the womb we see in his blatant lie. He had totally assumed the persona of Esau, which is symbolized by his brother’s raiment. Significance of raiment is same as the name holds. For example Jacob and Israel have different meanings. Perhaps the single redeeming feature in defencs of deception played by Jacob was that Esau had repudiated his birth-right under oath.

The Spirit uses the garments with a purpose and we have quite a number of verses to understand its significance. There is no man justified by works nor who can be called righteous by his own merit (Ps.14:3; Ro.3:10-12). Instead God imputes His righteousness to man. Jacob had thus put on an identity.   Likewise one puts on breastplate of righteousness (Ep.6:14) for example. By extension the metaphor of body is a tent that is set up and taken down with death. Here we have a verse of St Paul to this effect: “because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked (2 Cor.5:3,2,4-NIV).”

Benny

Read Full Post »

The Spirit in emphasizing the sovereignty of God always places Nature as subservient to His Will. Psalmist rightly praises Him clothed with honor and majesty. “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment”. It is to this the Spirit refers in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis “And they (Adam and Eve) were both naked, the man and his wife and were not ashamed (Ge.2:25).” His creation acquires as it were the glory of God. Such a transfer is scattered throughout the narrative. Before God made a covenant with Abraham God commanded him to offer him a sacrifice and what should be included was given in detail. Abraham after having done accordingly waited. By sundown ‘a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him (Ge.15:12).’ Presence of God renders the place where he stood project supra real emotional intensity and Abraham could feel it, . We see similarly at a time Jacob is fleeing from Esau his elder brother whom he worsted twice unfairly, and at Bethel God revealed a vision to him. He woke up and was certain the Lord was present there. “And he was afraid, and said, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven (Ge.28:18).”From whence did he acquire this knowledge? Foreknowledge is often transferred, invisible things of God to help us. The Spirit guides us in all truth and it is a gift God has assured us. It is the glory of God that gave the earth a form and to His children serves as guideposts as it were in their ministry. This we see in the Acts of the Apostles St Paul changed his plans since the Spirit had forbidden him to go to Asia. “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, Come over to Macedonia and help us.(Ac.16:9)”
Natural laws and divine laws run parallel so God’s sovereignty ensures Nature shall manifest His glory whenever it is called upon. This is palimpsestic memory of Nature.

Such memory establishes the blessing of God over man whom He chooses as instrument regardless of his merit, and it works for the greater glory of God. Nature acknowledges the glory of God as His due. Let us consider an example to illustrate palimpsestic memory. The Children of Israel under the leading of Moses complained of not having water to drink. We have a commentary from St Paul and  “and drank the same spiritual drink; for they (the children of Israel) drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ (1 Cor.10:4-NIV). We are examining the second instance when God commanded Moses to speak to the rock. But he smote it instead, therefore not honoring Him before Israel. The rock did as was in the earlier instance. The rock gushed forth since palimpsestic memory of the rock acknowledged what significance it held. It was the Spiritual rock that accompanied them. Christ was that rock.

Here is another instance. What was the miracle of the withered fig tree? It failed to recognize the Son of man was exempt from the curse of God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God he told Adam thus: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake (Ge,3:12)”. When Jesus approached the tree and found nothing thereon, but leaves only he cursed it and it was thus withered away directly.(Mt.21:19-20).

Benny

Read Full Post »

How did Rebekah know of the emergence of two nations in her womb? ‘She went to enquire of the Lord(Ge.25:22)’.

In this context let us refresh our mind with the creation calendar. ‘And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night and let them be for signs, and for seasons..(Ge.1:15)”

There are two kinds of revelation. One is public and the other personal. When God made the sun and the moon as signs we have an apt example in the rainbow as a natural phenomenon and as a sign. A rainbow is formed by dispersion of light through the medium of moisture in the air. The colors are incident in the way these impinge on the retina of the eye and no two persons see it the same. That is Science. After the deluge God set the bow in the sky as a covenant he made to Noah and it implies both mercy and judgment. In the latter sense we have a vision of St John. The mighty angel coming down from heaven is shown with a rainbow (Re.10:1). The Spirit uses signs with a purpose and the rainbow that was set in his vision of God’s throne signified his Mercy. It being the testimony of Jesus Christ he is referring to the nature of his Father (Re.4:3). Naturally the revelation is a private one ‘to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass (Re.1:1)’.

Revelations of God are always clothed with Nature as a backdrop. In the same sense when God set up a vision to Jacob to which we shall come by and by revelations are always user friendly as it were. Nature is amenable to acquaint a child of God instinctively God’s purpose in so many ways. It is God’s sovereignty that made a land fertile or poor as a sign. We read of instances at the times of the Kings when He stopped the rains to show his displeasure. Nature is a prop for revealing his purpose and it was in this sense He sent Moses to the Promised Land. “And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex.3:17)”.

ii

When God separated light from darkness he saw it was good. It gave the earth a form and his glory was not scattered in vain but brought results that at the end of each day he could affirm it was good. In the Creation Day when the glory of God gave a form to the earth the Spirit instructs us that what was visible did attest to it.(Ro.1:20). When He led the children of Israel to a land flowing with milk and honey it was conditional. The visible abundance of the Promised Land refers to His glory. Shape of the promise lay in peace and prosperity. If the people followed His commandments it would be their portion. It was thus his promise to Abraham. It was conditional. God informs Rebekah of two nations before her delivery. Israel and Edom were the two nations. In the case of Jacob in the pre-natal state imbibed as though it were, naturally pursued birth-right even after delivered from their mother’s womb. Whereas Esau dismissed his birth right as a trifle Jacob profited from it. “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them (Mt.13:12-NIV)”.

Read Full Post »

While on one level the Spirit chronicles the history of the nation of Israel there is a secondary purpose and it is in revealing God’s ways with man. The promise of God to Abraham was conditional. In order to instruct us we have the story of Rebekah faced with two nations from the same bowel. It challenges us to understand God’s ways, which are consistent throughout.

When God separated light from darkness he saw it was good.  So whatever good in the eyes of God must belong to the promise of God who is perfect. As the Son of man attested only his Father was good (Mt.19:17). This idea is affirmed by the writer to the Hebrews, ‘For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater he sware by himself (He.6:13).’ What was his creative act but faith (He.11:3) and it was good (Ge.1:3). Thus when we are reading the election of Jacob it was not his deceit but faith that passed the muster. As in the case of Abraham who was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mount, he proved when he prevailed over God at Peniel. Faith is a personal commitment Jacob possessed. All other traits a man shall ever hold, both noble and ignoble are, in course of time, straightened out about faith, which is the quintessence of God. When we consider Jacob and Esau we see Jacob was cunning and deceitful as Esau more forgiving and open. Be that as it may such faith that made Jacob struggle over his elder brother while in the womb gives Predestination another facet: without faith it is impossible to please God.

In the Creation Day when the glory of God gave a form to the earth the Spirit instructs us that what was visible did attest to it.(Ro.1:20). In the case of Jacob in the pre-natal state imbibed as though it were, naturally pursued birth right  even after delivered from their mother’s womb. Whereas Esau dismissed his birthright as a trifle.

“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them (Mt.13:12-NIV)”.

Benny

Read Full Post »

Here we are concerned about two aspects of the fall of man.

Glory of God gave, as we have already discussed in the study of Genesis, a shape. The earth was without form but in the creation account of God, this glory gave the earth its form. Consider the  creatures which God brought to Adam and he gave them names. Does it not indicate God considered him as the Alpha male and it was not merely a coincidence. God considered Adam as his steward to minister to the well being of creatures of the air, beasts of burden etc., Here we see him as a forerunner of Jesus who in the fulness of time came as Servant-King. Here we have two aspects of man one as a carnal being and the other as a spiritual emblem of heavenly realities. In order to distinguish between the two we have ‘inner man’ as a distinct reality which no man can escape from. Death similarly is what no man can escape unless one is born again.

Secondly we see  the heavenly realities belong to an overcomer. For this reason Adam was cast out from the Garden so he might not reach out and eat of the fruit of the tree of life. He was ‘dead’ in his inner man.

Now on to our key verse:

“And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil….So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken (Ge.3:22-23-NIV).”

God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and made him a living soul. When Adam disobeyed God death occurred which God had warned him about (Ge. 3:3). So death must have occurred and the Spirit hints about the kind of death that took place. The cherubim with flaming swords forbade Adam (vs.24)., which is an emblem of his inability. He could no longer enjoy his former state of being within the divine Will. He had forfeited his gift and it was his own doing. ‘For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance( Ro.11:29). In the NIV they are irrevocable.

Adam because of the gift from God is deemed the son of God (Lk.3:38). It is on this basis the Holy Spirit builds him as an antitype whereas Jesus Christ is the Type. He is the son over his own house (He.3:6). Having said we can understand why the Lord God says, “Behold the man is become as one of us.”

Inner man

Jesus said, ‘It is the spirit that gives life and flesh profits nothing…(Jn.6:63),’When we consider the born again experience we owe to the Word made flesh so in accepting Jesus by faith we find way back to God. Where Adam lost our new birth allows us to know good and evil according to the Core Will. As an earnest of our inheritance the indwelling Spirit works with our inner man. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;…Ep.3:16-20; (2 Co.4:16) Earlier we were led by the spirit of man whereby we served our appetites in our flesh and allowed ourselves to be carried about by custom and traditions of the world. White evangelicalism for this reason is carnal and contrary to the divine Will. Our inner man does not depend on sensory inputs but is guided by spirit of truth. To distinguish the spirit of the world and our spiritual experience within, we may characterize our inner man being driven by a dominant force.

Alpha force is the dominant force, ‘the power that worketh in us’ whereby the indwelling Spirit can build us to the fulness of God. Alpha force is not a scriptural term but we use it with caution. Eye of the inner man is single and the light with which it is led by light of the knowledge of the word creates love of Christ as honey in a hive. So much so the born again experience produces fruits of the Spirit.

How does the inner man differs from carnal man?

The Spirit has given us a clear indication from the story of Hannah in the first book of Samuel. “Now Hannah, she spake in her heart: only her lips moved..(1 S.1:13-16).”

Firstly let us recalls the words of Jesus with regards to prayer. The prayer of a heathen has its characteristic. ‘Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do.’ “For your Father knoweth what things you have need of, before you ask him (Mt.6:7-8).  Inner man makes a case for a child of God and the world shall never fully fathom its outcome until God brings to light. Hannah was thrown in deepest pit of anguish. Her adversary still tormented since she had no insight what her taunts were creating in her rival. But God heard her since the groaning and supplications of her inner man was neither within the control of her adversary or in her direct control. We do not know how we should pray at times since we are very much drawn into agony of the spirit to pray with wisdom. “I am a woman of sorrowful spirit”.  Peace of God, as we read ‘passeth all understanding,’ This is what God has assured his children and it is not what anyone who grandstand before the world can command at will. So those who misuse the word of God for their own glory whether it be prosperity theology or of Belial have got their reward and for us it shall be the peace not as the world gives but what we can appreciate in eternity..

Benny

 

Read Full Post »

Wherever we read of God judging whether it be of the old world or the cities of the plains his judgments are partial. Noah and his family, altogether 8 souls were spared from the flood.

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2Pe.3:7-American KJV)”.What we often miss is that the heavens also are reserved for judgment. Satan is prince of the power of the air among other things. Judgment of heavens shall occur only when Satan is finally consigned to the lake of fire and brimstone (Re.20:10). Prior to this Satan shall be bound for a thousand years. It signals the Millennial Reign where Jesus Christ shall set up his kingdom on the earth. The Spirit while setting down the story of Noah in his ark serves us a foretaste of earthly bliss that no worldly governments could provide. Immediate purpose of the Spirit in setting the narrative account of the Son is to make Noah as a forerunner of Jesus Christ the Messiah-King. Noah is an antitype of the Messiah.

Judgment as we discussed here is only partial. What we may conclude from this is sovereignty of God makes heaven and the earth as one. Similar to the realities of the earth there exists reality of the heaven. Thus whenever God makes a covenant with man we shall see a testimony similarly set up in heaven. Why this must be so? The Word settled in heaven is eternal. It is the constitution of the sovereign God. So much so not a jot or tittle shall pass from it though heaven and the earth pass away (Mt.5:18). Millennial Reign is an event that must occur on the earth in God’s Time. We also see the testimony in heavens in the shape of the four living creatures. They were shown in the vision of John being present in the midst of the throne. “And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle (Re.4: 7)”. When God made a covenant with Noah the Spirit would instruct us that it had become a memorial before God. Whether it was Adam or Noah, man’s association with other creations of God are recorded in heaven.

We see before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah he tells thus: “I will go down now, and see whether they (people of S&G) have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me…(Ge.18:21)” Omnipresent God has no need to go on any fact finding mission. The Spirit is, however, referring to this ‘cry’ as a testimony on which his judgment shall be passed. The parable of the Persistent widow (Lk.18:1-8) teaches us the same. God shall execute his judgment certainly in his Time, so no one shall accuse him of neglecting his sovereign Authority.

(text reprinted from Guide to His Word of 27 Jan,18)

Benny

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »