Isaiah manuscript

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Jewish Element

The surest confirmation that Christ’s physical return to life is part and parcel of Christianity’s foundation is, as always, the fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy. I had mentioned previously, the annual observation of the Day of Atonement, which is a time of repentance and the hope and assurance of forgiveness. There is no record that I know of about the number of times, if any, the sacrificial sacrifice was rejected by God. The point is, on this day of solemn humility and complete vulnerability to God’s justice, the people had to wait and watch in fear and trembling to see if the atonement was “good enough” for God’s holy standard.

If you haven’t been reading Exodus and Leviticus lately, you might forget the fastidious details in instruction for the priest, his clothing of white linen, cleanliness involving the bathing of his whole body, the animal sacrifice which had to be perfect, without blemish inside or out, the way to touch the animal (on its head), kill, and dispose of its remains, sprinkling and pouring of the blood, how to place the sins of all the people on the head of a second animal, escort it into the wilderness as the scapegoat, “taking away the sins” (not “of the world” YET)… If the priest, his clothing, his adherence to exact instruction as to what to do inside the Tent of Meeting and the Holy of Holies, if the animal was in any way imperfect, if ALL was not acceptable to God, the priest and quite possibly the observing crowd outside would be struck dead. After all, to enter the holiest place meant entering into God’s dwelling. So serious was this that a rope was tied to the High Priest’s ankle, just in case since no one else dare enter therein! He also wore bells on the fringe of his robe for the people to hear when he moved, or not hear, if he didn’t.

Can you imagine the tension when there was a long pause in the priest’s movement? This was not simply a matter of the moment. Physical life and death were not the only concern. If the priest offering the atonement died, even if the people lived to tell, they would be living under the tremendous burden of their guilt, sins unforgiven, for God as they knew Him was fearsome, unapproachable in Righteousness, quick to impugn, chasten and set things aright. The inkling of God’s grace, its foreshadowing, was in the type of Christ who was their High Priest, emerging from the Temple, sacrifice accepted by God, this year’s sins forgiven. Hallelujah! Such joy, we have difficulty understanding, such is our state of casual acceptance, as we live every day under God’s grace. Our plight of ingratitude could very well be worse than Israel’s limited understanding of God’s character. God has been fully revealed to us, with every mercy being shed upon us, only for us to trample them with our next transgression. Gracious God, help us.

Christ came forth, ALIVE from the grave indicating to our fullest measure of understanding, our High Priest’s blood sacrifice was pure and holy, acceptable to God in the spiritual realm.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Resurrection Power

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1Peter 1:3

March question: Is it important whether Jesus Christ was spiritually raised to life or completely and physically?
The “bones of Jesus” has revived once again the question of Jesus’ actual resurrection from the dead, grats to
Discovery Channel and that movie director guy. The claims do not warrant time nor space here but because of it, I had the above question posed to me. Had I not been studying the Tabernacle Bible Study, I would have still been confused by the importance of ANY resurrection of Jesus. Christian teaching emphasizes the cross and the blood being crucial to our salvation. To read scholars’ idea that without the RESURRECTION, we are doomed to experience the merciless wrath of God, I was stymied. WHY the resurrection? Any past conclusion was contrived, not Bible-based. I figured it was the fame factor—how long would Jesus have endured the masking of time and twisting of truth if history had not revealed His last and greatest miracle? Had Christ remained dead, our collective memory would have distorted (even worse than it has) and perhaps completely forgot His incredible life and teachings. How MORE likely is it that we would have obliterated our salvation by His blood? As one author writes, “If Jesus Christ had not clearly—and unequivocally—been raised bodily as the permanent conqueror of death on behalf of the human race, we would never have heard of Him.”

Though this might be true, the picture I now have of
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, has revealed so much more than reasonable-ness. I said, “more than reason”. The supernatural power of God’s teaching and revelation does not remove our ability to think and piece God’s Truth into our reality which is His Creation! I often review the necessity to take ALL of God’s Word as reliable truth at Christianity Is Jewish, the other blog. Therefore, the first reason to accept the bodily resurrection of our Savior is because God has said so, repeatedly, in His Holy Word. Thomas was allowed to touch Jesus’ resurrected body. John and two others ate food with Jesus. The tomb was EMPTY with the grave clothes left in the position they had been worn. Jesus walked and talked with believers on the road to Emmaus. They did NOT recognize Him and assuredly, there was nothing unusual about his appearance. He was NOT a ghost! As soon as we reject any one of these events, we are taking god’s Truth into our own hands, raising ourselves above God and shredding His Word for our convenience, to fit our small, pathetic minds.

The shock portrayed when the empty tomb was found had nothing to do with Jesus’ resurrection. Mary wanted to know what “they” had done with the body! The disciples believed Jesus’ lifeless body had been stolen. They were not convinced of His living body, the First Fruit of the coming harvest, because such a preposterous idea had never entered their heads, EVEN THOUGH JESUS TOLD THEM HE WOULD LIVE AFTER HIS OWN CRUCIFIXION. Their minds could not conceive the thought. Seeing was believing. Not a ghost, Christ was risen in the flesh, regenerated.

The toying with the generation of life in Genesis to a smaller, more palatable miracle called evolution—creation over billions of years, is very much the same as the meltdown of this true resurrection miracle. If faith shrinks down to fit the creation story into natural form, it is inevitable that faith will not be satisfied by the limiting of Christ’s power to re-create Himself, in Spirit, Mind, and Body. It truly is the foundation for the hope of Heaven…the New Earth…a physical existence. The argument could be made that just spirit resurrection is still a supernatural belief. So it is. Left with only two choices if you are going to believe the Easter story to be true, many will choose spirit resurrection. After all, it is “easier”. Or is it? I have never seen a ghost or a resurrected body!

“Therefore My heart is glad and My tongue rejoices; My body also will rest secure, because You will not abandon Me to the grave, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay.” ~Psalm 16:9-10

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Photocopy Relationship

In your loneliest time, have you desired someone’s love, wishing that somehow you could MAKE THEM love you? We women can become obsessed with our appearance, in hope of making someone love us. But surely we know that THAT is not love. Love is a choice made from the innocence of human need and attraction. We are loved and do love for who we are. Anything else is manipulation.

We must CHOOSE God. So back to God’s ability to take on evil, as in unholy thought and behavior: He never leaves us without the responsibility to make choices. Do we love Him or not? There is clear evidence: seeking to see Him, hear Him, know Him, trust Him, talk to Him, obey Him, do for Him…this is love. His promise in return: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” ~Matthew 7:7
In answer to my friend’s proposal, God CANNOT consume HIS OWN REJECTION (SIN), by drawing it in—NO. Denying God His desire for us to FREELY love Him is what puts us out, beyond His reach, past the boundary of His protection. If God COULD drag people in, kicking and screaming, they would be slaves to a tyrant! Those are just the facts of reality. God is not some cosmic projection of our minds…He is very realistic, personal, genuine.

You women, or men, with possessive mates KNOW what I’m talking about. With trust gone out the window, relationships are no longer grounded in love. They are barely relationships at all! God sees the heart and He KNOWS who trusts Him. Jesus DID come to “take away the sins of the world.” Now the ball is in our court. (Make a note: God has not dropped the ball so that this notion of God’s holiness swallowing evil will just “happen”. That triggers a vision of the beatnik era: “What’s hap’nin?” : D Yeah, it’s not like that. Death, swallowed by the Risen Christ, still packs a wallop for the one who rejects God at His Word.) True, honest relationship can be nothing other than give and take. Our existence in relationship with one another is a photocopy of God’s hope for relationship with us. Parents love when their children talk with them, women love for their husband to trust and honor them, children yearn for attention and praise from their parents, men are lonely and need friendships… respect for who they are. Honesty and trust that those around us won’t trample our emotions when we let them show…real needs of real people. Do you see the resemblance? Prayer…praise…thanks…trust…God wants what we want!

In His image, we see God in these truths. In the same way that WE WILL NEVER be able to make someone love us, NEVER get beyond our vulnerability because even a shell of denial can be broken,--in this way, God is bound. God is limited. God is fragile…so easily hurt.

In everything that God IS, God remains omnipotent. He is boundless in love and compassion, waiting for His creation to turn back to Him. He is perfectly just to satisfy the seeker and discern the fraud.