Rabbit holes mark the places where feet of many have tried to lead God’s people. The identity of the human race and the place we occupy in the genuine picture painted by Moses and the prophets. Christ is not trying to save humanity by exercising their minds about creation; that is quite clear. For persons to migrate from hostile and rebellious the frame of reference must include what we are and what we can be. Beware! “Flesh and blood” does not mean spirit.
The living creature who named all the living creatures was a living creature.
OUT OF THE GROUND; FORMED BY ELOHIM
Nephesh chayyah include swarms of marine animals (Genesis 1:20)
Nephesh chayyah include human beings (male and female). Then the Lord God formed man “dust from the ground“, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
Out of the ground came every beast of field (Genesis 2:19)
Out of the ground came every bird of the sky (Genesis 2:19)
Beasts and birds are living creatures (Genesis 2:19)
Man is not an animal, huh?
“Man is a spiritual being, composed of body, soul, and spirit” is one popular mantra. The difference between spirit/wind and flesh/bone is graphic. Spiritual (of spirit) and of flesh (πνευματικος and σαρκινος) are even opposites.
“For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” (Romans 7:14, NASB)
Man is an animal, ranking below angels, who we know to be genderless spirit and fire. When we call someone an angel we promote them.
He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers.
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
Humans are known to sink below the understanding of animals we recognize.
An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.
Waiting for the pin to pop that balloon of human essence is going to take a long time because human pride keeps getting in the way of truth and humility. We tend to challenge ourselves with both lies and truth.
There was a plot to make Christ’s return from the dead look like a fraud even though the occurrence is not without precedent. People in New Testament times claimed that it was unheard of for blind people to see again, and there is no recorded debate about perfectly fit and worthy men like Elijah, Moses, and Enoch carted off to the grave. There is no doubt whatever that Elisha and Elijah raised a lad to life (2 Kings 32;35 and 1 Kings 17:17-24). The elephant in the room of death’s demise is a man’s prediction about resurrection. Christ used both figurative and literal terms to predict his death and resurrection. He talked about Jonah in the sea monster (Matthew 12:40), destroying the temple (John 2:18-22) and in plain language (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22). The empty tomb that is displayed as the place where the Saviour of the world lay for three days is a threat to those who try to prove that Christ is alive by using logic and inanimate objects, but the actual threat people stuck in unbelief and rebellion face is where the king of Israel sits and not where he is not.
Fighting against God is painful for the fighter and God. He keeps pursuing both the lost and the saved. Christ could have called a legion of angels to prevent his arrest and passion, but it was in the arena of life and death that we see his best combat. The Lord Christ prevented deaths by healing sickness and disease apart from medical practice, and preempted funerals. He even interrupted a funeral cortege.
When a sick person dies proof of death can be misinterpreted and mishandled. Checking for vital signs is not a modern practice. The ancient world know that breathing was a primary sign of life (Eze. 37:5, (Genesis 2:7, 35:29, Mark 15:37). No technology was necessary to pronounce a person dead. Observers though could say “Oh, she was merely sleeping” or that death’s victim was in an unusual catatonic or comatose state. Observers of that sort are however severely limited when the dead person is in Sheol for four days like Lazarus was. The suffocated, wounded and bleeding Yeshua of Nazareth was taken down from the stake dead.
There are two words in the Nain visit narrative (Luke 7:11-16) that appear nowhere else in the New Testament. A third word appears in this funeral narrative and in Peter’s intervention in Tabitha’s death (Acts 9). Both narratives are Luke’s work and there is no report of carrying out, coffin, or sitting up in the narration of our Lord’s death and resurrection.
Carry out, ekkomizo
Sit up, anakathizo
Wait ’til your eyes land on the occupied throne
If we think that an empty tomb speaks loudly we may not be ready for the voice that comes from where the Lamb of God actually sits. There is sheer terror in the hearts of men when they realize what a crude and childish mistake they have made rejecting the cornerstone of God’s kingdom. The officials of the kingdom in antiquity are not automatic participants in God’s kingdom.
“Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.’”
1 Kings 8:25, NASB
How long will people give credence to theories about God’s kingdom that exclude the clear evidence about who is in charge of human destiny? Perhaps not long, as people all over the globe are waking up to the emptiness of their “cultural” traditions. The eyewitnesses of the outcomes of Christ’s death and rising from the dead were hemmed in by the deeds of the Holy Spirit and the words of the disciples and apostles.
“And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.”
Acts 2:30-31, NASB
God’s business is now in the hands of a caring God, far from the ravages of self-centred priests, prophets, patriarchs and wise men, because “the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation of John 7:17, NASB)
Scripture records that the Lord Christ breathed his last at around the ninth hour of Passover. This year, in the Eastern Time zone, the moon hits full at 1455, 2:55pm. Amazing coincidence? Not if one believes that there are sacred seasons throughout the year. The whole day is sacred. The full moon of Nisan, falling on the fourteenth day, has always been a significant season. The moon is full then it isn’t. Some time during this day, millions will remember that the price for human redemption was paid in full.
There was no other way to conceive of the Lamb of God laying down his life and taking up again without an eternal “mark this date”. Before he created the world God had marked the calendar of His Son’s amazing act of saving love.
“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;” [season <- moed, and for seasons ולמועדים ulĕmoedim]
Genesis 1:14, NASB
Seasons are appointed times, marked by both the sun and the moon, and Moses announces a set of them which we have come to know as festivals in Leviticus 23. Again this year, Good Friday is over when Passover actually begins. It is another example of how tradition poses as biblical fact. Please take a moment to recall and give a loud hosannah with reference to the Son of David, whether or not the bread and wine of the covenant are present.
Sons of Sceva are practically everywhere and there ought to be a law to protect people against abominable merchandising such as is popular on North American television. If you want to be healed you go to a doctor. Then again you can just use your words in respectful and urgent prayer. You might even be one of the few people to whom God has given the power to speak basic and daily needs into existence, even when there are means within human reach. The options for medical cures are quite clear. God has been saying no to prayers for miraculous “healings” since Israel was a nation and there are no lessons necessary for access to the heavenly Father’s power to make people whole. It is worth finding out what on earth could a healing university be under the auspices of the Lord Christ and his apostles.
Treatment vs examination
A magical masquerade mime was present in the leprosy “treatment” in the levitical system. Compared to what the Lord Christ did for lepers (Mark 1:40-45) we have to think of the distance separating the priest from the leper during his examination (Leviticus 13:3,5,6,8,25,30,32,34, and 14:3). You can see he had to do a lot of looking. The human body has always been the beneficiary of divine healing on request.
“O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.” [crying to God is the way things are, and he repeatedly heals…]
Psalms 30:2, NASB
The wounding of the sons of Sceva
11) God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12) so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. 13) But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14) Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15) And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16) And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:11-16, NASB)
“And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27, NASB)
There may be oral traditions of even thousands of cleansed lepers, but these are absent from our sources of authority. Leprosy is a picture of sin we probably do not want to make too much of, since their cleansing by the Lord Christ and his disciples was evidence for the last and greatest prophet that God’s kingdom had arrived (Luke 7:22)
God is not obligated to make anyone’s body like a baby’s and he definitely is not handing out glorious bodies before the time (Hebrews 11:39, Acts 7:5). On the other hand God never ignores or fails to answer genuine cries for mercy and pardon.
“But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him.”
Acts 7:5, NASB
It was no accident that I heard a merchantelevangelist offer access to God’s healing power by means of his forty-eight lesson drug deal. I naturally had to say something to warn people about this kind of masquerade. One has to be in the grip of a reality other than God’s kingdom, as we have seen it unveiled in the documented work of the Lord Christ, to believe in and waste time on a forty-eight lesson masquerade from a merchantelevangelist. What next will they try to sell believers?
The lovers of truth know that everything that is called “God” may give people comfort or at least a place to hide, but God cannot be reduced to a shifting panorama of political expediency and religious superiority. When the morality of Islam, Judaism and Christianity combined create the new society we will know that justice has no more masks. Presently, there is no evidence that the warring parties in anyone’s politics will form such a coalition. However, when the goals of decency and simple justice allow people to create good government we may all be dead, but the ever-living disciples of the man called The Way know that McConnell’s commitment to do the will of the accused 45th president ranks with the lowest and most acrid and deadly examples of smoke without fire.
Said McConnell, “Everything I do during this, I will be coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position…” (from the Atlantic, citing McConnell on Fox network). I suppose a great Christian leader can coordinate his journey along the way of the kingdom of God with the fallen angels. That kind of justice simply does not cut it.
“Free for real” is a proposition that people complicate with common sense, traditions, and the rules and regulations they think are necessary under all circumstances. The Son makes people free on the basis of his decree, confirming that freedom is not related to any constitution or body of laws. Christ liberates people without reference to the law of God/Moses. The certainty of real freedom as proposed by the Lord Christ puts pretend and ritual freedom, the stuff of which levitical ministry was made of, in clear contrast. This means that the recognition that “… through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Acts 13:39, NASB) may have emboldened early believers like James (our Lord’s brother) to try to bring circumcision and dietary restrictions. The truly free person does not have to keep proving his liberty to anyone. He is free because of Christ’s exclusive intervention. The liberated simply decides to abide (meinete) in Christ’s words, and his freedom is assured. Most people who have recognized their need for salvation will tell us that their satisfaction wasvinconsistent with chains of pride, playacting “family”, and a meager awareness of service.
It is a sad state of affairs when the people who believe that Yeshua is God’s Son and Saviour of the world think that their badges and books, prophets and patriarchs, seers and scribes are some kind of super currency in God’s ledger. The son and slave, and house reference in John 8 was Yeshua’s way of alerting his audience to the fatal disease of playing the tribe card.
God allowed both Sarah and Abraham to play their cards in the dust up over Ishmael and Isaac. She recommended that Abraham sleep with Hagar. Then Abraham cooperated with Sarah’s expulsion of Hagar from the household.
“So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”
Genesis 16:2, NASB
5) And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” 6) But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.”
Genesis 16:5-6, NASB
Yahweh’s view of the family
18) And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” 19) But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20) “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:18-20, NASB)
Paul’s insight on the issue of son and slave is riveting. He flips the son/slave rhetoric between Sinai and Calvary, assigning Hagar’s slave experience to the Israelites and the Sinai covenant and he assigns the promise and the global agenda to Abraham’s descendants who follow Abraham’s example of believing God’s offer.
22) For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23) But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24) This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar.” (Galatians 4:22-24, NASB)
So now there are two great nations coming from Abraham’s immediate family. Whence then the tension and the animosity between ishmaelites and Israelites? Should not there be a measure of respect and love? I guess not before hearts can confess that all men are equal before God’s saving grace. So what do we think and what do we do with this son-freedom?
Thinking and doing
Treating the action option first, we get ahead of the crowd with our appreciation of God as exclusive and inimitable Father. Most people are comfortable saying that they have a God, a prophet, a master, or some kind of caretaker, but not many are willing to say that God is their father or that they are God’s child. There is not much to think about when one considers how important sons are to their fathers, in the Bible and outside it. Given the historic and documented fatherhood of good men and scoundrels we accept the proposition that God sees humans as potential children of his.
The test to which we might want to subject those who call themselves sons of God should prioritize engagement in God’s business. Reading what precedes Luke 2:48 to see what being in the house and free can look like.
48) When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” 49) And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:48-49, NASB)