Right shape

asters-469797_640Exodus 39:3: And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and the scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design.

You need to be cut into the right shape, because life is about you fitting into the plans of God, and not about God fitting into yours.

The bible says that known to God are his works from eternity past (Acts 15:18). Since his knowledge is comprehensive and our knowledge is limited, we need to be submitted to the cutting process to be in the right shape and form to be used in the hands of God. We need him to get to the right place and the right time for our destiny and purpose. We do not get to pick our ways or make our choice, he makes our choices for us. The bible says: the Lord will choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loves (Psalm 47:4).

God send Jeremiah to the house of a potter to explain something about what he wants his relationship with the nation of Israel to be. He said he is the potter and determines the shape the clay should take (Jeremiah 18:1-6).

If the shape coming out of the pottery process was not good enough, the potter can remake it, breaking what he had made first. It is all at his discretion. The clay cannot have a mind of its own and still be clay, the only mind in the interaction between the potter and the clay is the potter’s.

Jesus said that his father is the husbandman and his is the vine, while we are the branches. He added that that the branch which bears fruit in him (John 15:1-8), is pruned so as to bear more fruit. The process of pruning is removing parts of the branch that are not contributing to the production just feeding on the vine. Therefore the branch is cut into a better shape for enhanced productivity.

When God called Gideon to be the deliverer in Israel, and the number of people who responded to the call to war by Gideon was about 30000 (Judges 7:1-9). God decided that he should cut the number into a smaller shape. He believed that with such large number, when the victory comes, the people will ascribe the glory to themselves, and not to God, which will make them puffed up and at the end of it, he will have to punished, for not ascribing glory to him. Jonathan said that it is nothing for God to save with many or with a small number (1Samuel 14:6).

Discipleship is about coming into the right shape. When some people believed in Jesus, they though that that was enough, but Jesus told them that was just the beginning. He said if they continue in his word, they will be his disciples indeed and they will know the truth which will manifest in their lives as freedom from sin (John 8:3-32). It was sin that needs to be cut from their lives so that they can be in the right holiness shape. There are excesses that needs to be cut from us.

The summary of John the Baptist as a forerunner, was that he was supposed to get the people of God to the right shape to receive Jesus (Isaiah 40:1-5).

He was the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah which goes thus: a voice crying in the wilderness make strength the way of the lord, every valley shall exalted and crooked path made smooth, every mountain shall come down, and the glory of the Lord, manifest in Jesus (as many years later was made plain) shall be released. All are about the path shaped appropriately for God’s glory to be made manifest, it is about making a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:14-17).

Being in the right shape is not just about what to be removed by also what to add. Before Jesus released his disciples to carry the message of his resurrection to their world, he said they needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Peter gave a list of some things that should be added to the Christians so that we might be in the right shape (2Peter 1:5-11). He said certain things should added to faith, being the foundation. Jude wrote that we should contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). Because once the essence of faith is compromised there is nothing else, no other foundation that can be laid expect that which is laid which is Jesus, i.e. faith in Jesus. Without that foundation there is no shape the building will take.

Below are some of the things Peter said needed to be added to the saving faith.

Virtue

There is no running away from the need to be of excellence character. When Jesus said that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), it means manifesting virtues of godly character. Faith without works, James wrote, is dead (James 2:26).

Knowledge

There is nothing advantageous about being ignorant. Spiritual growth is partly measured in knowledge and grace (2Peter 3:18). And there must be an hunger and thirst for truth in you before you are filled, because Christ would not care to cast his knowledge pearls before swine, those who have no interest in or value for it (Matthew 7:6).

Jesus, aghast, asked Nicodemus during a discussion with him: are you the teacher of Israel and you do not know this things (John 3:10)? So knowledge must once again be elevated in the church. Truth is meant to empower. The bible says that those who know their God will be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:32). But to learn we need to put on humility.

Self-control

This is about temperance, being able to curb the appetite, what goes into our mouth in the food we eat and what comes out of it in the words we speak. It also has to do with the emotion. The man that cannot control his emotion still has a long way to go.

Steadfastness

This has to do with being tenacious. The ability to exhibit faithfulness in the most difficult of circumstances. To be steadfast you need vision. Moses followed God because as the writer of the book of Hebrews says: he endured as seeing the invisible (Hebrews 11:27).

Godliness

This is about holiness. It is not about externals, but which goes on the inside the head, in the thought and intent of the heart (Hebrews 4:16). In the secrets in the heart, in the words spoken in privacy.

David prayed: let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you oh God (Psalm 19:14). He does not just want to be seen as godly by those who are outside, but he wants to be holy in the privacy of his thoughts. Paul enjoins us to offer our bodies, our members to God as instruments of righteousness, glorifying God.

Love

Love is the capstone of everything that should be added. Paul wrote that three things are eternal, love, hope and faith and the greatest is love (1Corinthians 13:13). Jesus expressed his love by his sacrifice. He said no greater love can one have than laying down his life for his brothers (John 15:13). And when love is added, every other thing can take the right shape because God is love (1John 4:8).

Between the internal and the external  

lowers-191777_640Exodus 32:16: The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

At first, what God gave to Moses first as tablets of the Ten Commandments were purely the work of God. But the second one (after Moses broke the initial one when he saw the Israelites enmeshed in idolatry [Exodus 32-34]) was partly man and partly God. Moses cut the tablet himself and God wrote the words on it.

That corresponds to the two locations in the temple, which is the Holy of holies (the most holy place) (exclusively for God) and the holy place (thou sacred, regularly witness human activities), corresponding with man’s spirit and soul respectively.

In the soul of man, there is need for the active cooperation between man and God, but the spirit is all about God. It is born of God, but the soul needs constant renewal (Romans 12:2). The spirit is perfect while the soul needs to be worked on.

When John said that we have receive an unction from the Holy One (Jesus [Mark 1:24]), and we know all things, having no need for anyone to teach us, he was referring to our spirit (1John 2:20). Jesus said that he that is born of the flesh is flesh and he that is born of the spirit is spirit (John 3:1-8). The flesh there is the physical/soulish realm, while the spirit is the representation of heaven in us.

Also when Paul said that the kingdom of God is not in food and drink but it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), he was contrasting our soul with spirit. While for the sustenance of the soul in interaction with the world around, we need food as fuel and energy. Remember that when Isaac wanted to bless his first son Esau he told him to prepare for him delicious food which he eats, so that his soul will bless him before he dies (Genesis 27:4).

Natural food have something to do with the soul, while the spirit does not need such things, it is about connection with God, and made in the form of God who is Spirit and does not need food.

That is why fasting is advocated. When we suspend feeding the soul for a while, it allows the spirit to establish dominion in the inner space of man, so that we can judge the will of God (who is Spirit) more accurately.

With fasting, the soul leaves its own desires/needs to latch on to the desires of the Spirit as we are led from the inside out not the outside in.

Jesus said that when he leaves the disciples they would fast (Luke 5:33-35).

Why?

So that they can have access to the presence of Jesus in a spiritual sense after he left them physically. Then they stopped experiencing him primarily in their souls, and in fasting to seek him with their spirit. Paul said he has stopped perceiving Jesus according to the flesh but according to the spirit. And he said he fasts often (2Corinthians 11:27).

While Jesus was in the flesh the disciples could perceive him with their physical senses, but now there is need to perceive him with their spiritual senses, therefore fasting is to enhance your spiritual senses to engage with Jesus, who is now a life-giving Spirit (1Corinthians 14:45). With fasting our awareness of God is heightened, since we put our body (which is associated with the soul) under, so that we can soar in the spirit.

We will now examine some words of Jesus, as he expresses the difference between the physical life and the spiritual life.

  1. Jesus said: man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Luke 4:4).

This clearly shows the difference between the physical and the spiritual and in this life, not knowing the difference could get us into trouble. Paul recognised the difference, as mentioned earlier, saying: I put my body under control so that after preaching to others I will not be a castaway (1Corinthians 9:27).

He was not going to assume that whatever his body says is the correct thing, but will check it with the word. The word proceeds from the mouth of God, and is beyond what is spoken. God’s word is his life (John 1:1-5), his energy, coming into us, for us to live by it in a spiritual sense, as the seed contains life, and when planted it blossomed into new plant. The plant lives by the life given to it by the seed.

This is in line with that Peter wrote that we are born again of the incorruptible seed word of God (1Peter 1:23). That is the power word; and a seed has the potential to generate a forest.

  1. Jesus said: the kingdom is within you

The Holy of Holies is within us. And there is a difference between the outer man and the inner man. Paul again said that though the outward man perished, but the inward man is being renewed daily (2Corinthians 4:16).

Jesus said that we should pray to God: your kingdom come. That is equally about heaven coming to the earth as it is about what is within us in our calling and destiny to manifest for all to see. Paul said that the creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God- you and me (Romans 8:19). There are things locked up in your spirit (1Corinthians 2:9-16), purposes we are meant to fulfil. That is the kingdom within.

  1. Jesus said: do not be afraid of those who are kill the body but fear the one who can destroy body and soul in hell.

Everyone, everything else may reach your soul, or your body but not your spirit. Jesus said he keeps anyone that God gives to him and no one can take them away. Importantly, life is not to be lived with an overemphasis on the external, what people have to say, and ignoring the internal, what God has to say. It is wrong to overemphasis the present disregarding the future. Esau did this and the bible says he is a fornicator, all about the body (Hebrews 12:16).

God said about himself: I look at the heart not at the appearance (1Samuel 16:7). We should therefore make a lot of effort on our inside, i.e. set your eyes on things of heaven not on things on earth (Colossians 3:1-3).

They saw God

road-348544_640Exodus 24:11: And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

To see God is what it means to be enlightenment. The only path of self-discovery is God discovery, because being in pursuit of God causes us to realise our full potential.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve not only related to God but saw him (Genesis 3). God spoke to Adam about his place, his role in the pristine Garden. They were to maintain an order in creation, and to the limit that they saw God, that order will be maintained. They were meant to be representatives of God, and to the limit that they are in alignment with him, they bear his image and get to rule on earth.

The disciples saw God and did not know it when Jesus walked the earth (John 14:8-11). At the end of that time, Philips told Jesus: show us the father, and that is enough for us.

Jesus was sad, and said: “you have been with me all these while and you still ask to see the father!? Do you not know that if you see me you have seen the father?”

Jesus walked on the earth as God in the flesh (John 1:14, 17). But that thought is too lofty for mere man to consider, because that (the incarnation) was a creative act without precedent on the earth.

Because of the uniqueness of his birth, Jesus qualified to be a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Having no father or mother, no beginning of days or end of life, he stands as a priest forever, in an unending mandate (Hebrews 7). That is why he is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him.

John did not mince words when introducing Jesus, declaring that he is God the word (John 1:1-5), who was in the beginning with God through whom everything was created.

But for the purpose of making salvation available or everyman, he took on the form of flesh, God the Word became flesh and dwelled among us, talking on our form so that in salvation we can take on his form; condescending to us so that we can ascend to him; manifesting as us so that we can manifest as him; changed into us so that we can change into him.

By the same spiritual portal through which he was delivered to the earth as Son of Man, we were delivered to heaven as Sons of God. He became poor so that we might become rich (2Corinthians 8:9), he became limited so that we can become unlimited, he came to the earth not only so that we can see God, but so that we can manifest his essence to others. Principalities and powers, angels get to see God in us, they gain a new perspective of God. It is written: the church displays to the principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). They get to see different lights of God through us. They get lectured about God through us.

He created man and put him in the Garden of Eden so that he can bear the image of God, manifest his essence. The ultimate expression of the work of salvation is for people to see Jesus in us, as we are changed into who he is (Ephesians 4).

Jesus lived his life seeing God. That was the key to his success because seeing God is linked to getting direction from him (John 5:19). When Moses saw God in the burning bush it was time for him to be the deliverer he was born to be (Exodus 3). When Jesus saw the Holy Spirit descending on him after he was baptised by immersion by John, it was the beginning of a new day for him (Luke 3:21-23).

Paul saw Jesus in a revelation (Acts 9), while he was on the way to Damascus. Before then he pursued a different vision for his life. He thought he was doing the right thing, but when he saw a bright light and heard the voice of Jesus, he submitted to the Lordship of Jesus, realising the errors of his ways. His direction changed.

Seeing God causes us to go in the right direction. We are told to summit ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and in due season he will lift us up (1Peter 5:6). Going up is the right direction. Submitting to him is about obedience. It is about being changed from glory to glory as we behold the Lord. It is about liberty in his presence, and it is about reflecting his light, conveying his power.

Habakkuk wanted to take time out and see God because he felt that the conclusion he came to about the situation around him needed to change. So he said: I will stand upon my watch to see what God will say to me (Habakkuk 2:1), and his life was changed after that. To see God therefore is to have a life-changing encounter with him.

When Job saw God he knew that his previous experiences of him was just by the hearing of the ears. We need to have such an evolving experience of God, in which we see him, more and more, drawing closer to him as he draws closer to us (James 4:8).

To see God is to experience him for who he is. And real change comes when we see God, being the ultimate aim of prayer. Prayer should not just be about getting things from him. When we see him, his image becomes more and more manifest in our lives.

To look at God means to have expectation of him. The bible says of some people, they looked unto him (God) and their face was enlightened and they were not put to shame (Psalm 34:5). Blind Bartimaeus though without physical eyes saw spiritually (Mark 10:46-52). He saw Jesus as the solution to his blindness and shouted at the top of his voice: Jesus son of David have mercy on me.

It was obvious that He saw Jesus with the eyes of faith because when he met Jesus and he asked him: what do you want, and he said to be able to see, Jesus said: let it be to you according to your faith.

The woman with the issue of blood also saw Jesus with the eyes of faith (Luke 8:43-48). She said in her heart long before he met Jesus that she will be healed when she touches the helm of his garment, and that was what happened. She touched Jesus, having seen him in her heart as healer and she was healed. Jesus equally told her: your faith has made you whole.

Intercession

pray-442560_640Genesis 18:23: Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 

Abraham did not stand aloof when God told him he had heard many bad reports about the sinfulness of Sodom and Gomorrah and have come to find out things for himself, before he makes the final judgement (Genesis 18).

God came down to the state of men and have decided to share his heart with Abraham, revealing his mind and impending action to God.

A lot of time intercession is our response to revelation. No one else had the opportunity to know what is in the mind of God as Abraham, because none was as close to God. Which also means that intercessors get to be close to God, and are privy to information in the realm of the spirit to which they respond to in the place of prayer.

Noah was the first recorded intercessor on the earth (Genesis 8:20-22). Having just witnessed the total destruction of the earth, he offered intercessory sacrifices, and when the savour of their odour was perceived by God, he swore not to destroy the earth again.

That was intercession at its best. By sacrifice Noah drew the mercy of God and God committed himself to the earth in a new way. A new chapter was opened in the relationship of God with man and the earth is preserved for the time being and the sign of that commitment is the rainbow in the sky.

Intercessors get to shift the hands of God. Daniel was an intercessor (Daniel 9), and he saw a promise in the scriptures that other people may ignore with which he prayed. He used the scriptures, the prophetic words written by Jeremiah to engage in his intercessory work with great result. He refused to be quite when what is seen in the bible is different from what he sees in real life and he engages in intercession to bridge that gap. Intercessors are called to do that.

Intercessors carry a burden and a sense of urgency in the spirit. They on bended knee refuse to bend in their intercessory pursuit until they bring a change, achieve their intercessory aim.

They are not easily deterred by no immediate answer. Abraham pursued an intercessory agenda and pushed his demand for mercy from God on Sodom to the hilt, rather than say for Sodom, it is good riddance to bad rubbish. He was moved by the need for mercy rather than for judgment. As far as he was concerned there should be no situation to far-gone that there can be no reversal of fortune.  Intercessors do not take no for an answer, so they give the intercessory work all it takes.

Intercessors are bold. They are emboldened by their relationship with God, to go with him with the most impossible of situations seeking change. That is what we see in Abraham’s intercession for Sodom. He was bold to ask God for mercy, emboldened to spent time with God, to determine what happens. Intercessors knows they have powerful with God, which their closeness over time with God gives them the right to. For us we have the right to be close to God because of the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 2:13).

Moses interceded for the nation of Israel when God had decided that he was going to do away with the whole bunch of them and raise a new nation through Moses (Exodus 32:1-14), because they made for themselves an image to worship, making a mess of the plan of God to make them a different nation entirely, from other pagan-activities-infested nations around.

God wanted to raise them up to replace the nations in Canaan, as a different species of people. But through intercession, Moses brought the plan of God for them back on tract, drawing the mercy of God and pushing away his wrath.

Intercessors pave the way for the new things God wants to do. John the Baptist came with an intercessory mandate, so much so that he taught his disciples to pray, and they fasted, paving the way for the ministry of Jesus, which was the way he defined his mission on earth. Intercessors seek for the manifestation of Jesus and pave the way for that in the place of prayer.

John the Baptist said that he was the voice of one in the wilderness, prepare the way of the lord, the mountain will be made plain and the rough edges made smooth (John 1:23, Isaiah 40:3-5), for the manifestation of glory of God. That is the work of the intercessor.

Paul sought help from some church asking them to pray for him. He never asked any to send him money, but he said: send me prayer. To the church in Philippi he said while he was in prison that he was sure God will soon free him from prison and death based on their prayer (Philippians 1:19).

We empower the one we intercede for. Anna served God with prayer and fasting (Luke 2:36-39). That was an extreme of devotion. Hers was a life spent interceding.

For what you may ask?

It was definitely for the coming of Jesus. She probably spent her time declaring the prophetic words in the book of Psalms: lift up your heads oh you gates and be lifted you everlasting doors and the king of glory will come in, the Lord strong and mighty the Lord mighty in battle (Psalm 24).

In a way her intercession made the incarnating possible because it is not enough for the prophetic word to be declared that a virgin will be pregnant and give birth to a child to be called Emmanuel (Isaiah ), it needs to be backed by intercession, by prayers of enforcement. And Paul told Timothy to war a good warfare by the words declared over him (1Timothy 1:18).

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wanted his disciples to give him some help, not by giving him words of encouragement but by waiting and praying with him, but they were overtaken by the need for sleep (Matthew 26:38-42).

Intercession is a game changer. It is a prayer for others. It is receiving help for others via prayer, it is spiritual help.

When Moses asked Joshua to confront an enemy nation with a thousand soldiers in Israel (Exodus 17:8-16), Moses was on a mountain, with his staff raised up and later on when his hands were heavy, he was helped by Aaron and Hur. The battle was won, not just by the effort make by Joshua on the physical battlefield, but the effort Moses made in the spiritual battlefield to help the physical battlefield.

Intercession is spiritual labour. The bible talked about Epaphras who laboured in intercession for the Colossian church that they stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Ephesians 4:12).

And there is something in intercession for the intercessor. The bible says that God turned around the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friend (Job 42:10). When Abraham prayed for the house of king Abimelech and barrenness was removed, he got plenty of goods from the king (Genesis 20:1-14).

Worship

dolmen-3716_640Revelation 13:8:  and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

The devil desires worship and he seeks to get it through various means. For example by convincing people that there are many gods or no god at all, or to give a twisted view of God. He collects the worship that comes through those channel, since he is anti-God.

So because you call on a god does not mean you are calling on God. The god that your various religion has exposed you to is not the true God, if he is not the father of our Lord Jesus Christ (). That statement can be offensive to some, but we cannot remove the offence of the cross so as to accommodate some people, or else would be preaching another gospel, and campaigning for another God, and that brings no reward at the end of time.

Paul was very harsh saying:  if you believe another gospel different from Jesus then you have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4), Christ would not be of value to you (Galatians 5:2).

So it is important that we get an accurate picture of who Jesus is to know whom we have believed and worship, so that we do not worship satanic spirit in the guise of worshipping God because if the door to the god you claim to worship is not Jesus then it is the devil you are worshipping in whatever guises.

Jesus sent people to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creature. The gospel has not been reviewed, it is the same old message, but the devil will want to convince people that after Jesus has come and gone back to heaven, we need a revision of what the gospel really is. I speak concerning some religions that came after Jesus’ ascension, like Islam, grail message and the like.

The grail message claim that because we have an advancement in intellectual pursuit, we now need some intellectual updated understanding of Jesus. They call themselves cross bearers, and put themselves in an endless spiral of deception. There words sound intellectually stimulating with a sprinkling of mysticism, just to make it attractive enough.

The bible warned of the wisdom of men being foolishness to God (1Corinthians 3:19), and with wisdom man has not been able to reach God. It is all vanity upon vanity.

Islam claims the “another comforter” that Jesus talked about is Mohammed. They conveniently claim that some part of the bible is corrupted, while taking the word of Jesus that another comforter is coming to be true, just because it is convenient for them to do so. They are self-deceived.

Muslims and grail messengers are deluded followers of false gods, demons, which receive worship in one form or the other on behalf of Satan.

Worship is allegiance, but it comes with certain rituals, behaviour pattern, to express it. It shows in the way we speak, where we go to congregate with other worshippers.

But the one we should worship is the true God not an idea of him. Mohammed was obviously deluded or self-serving or both.

Worship is a thing of the heart, and is an expression of love or fear or both when it comes to a deity. When it comes to God, Jesus said we should love the Lord our God with all our heart with all our strength, with everything, our money, our life (Mark 12:30).

When it comes to giving-worship Jesus said that a woman who was in the temple who and threw two mites into the offering as the expression of her worship (Luke 21:1-4), did more than the money bags, who gave part of their possession. While she put small money there she added a big heart, it was the whole of her money representing the whole of her heart.

A woman poured an expensive oil on Jesus in an extravagant expression of worship (John 12:1-2), but Judas found fault with it saying in his heart that the oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor. But John added that Judas was only concerned with himself, that since he held the purse, he wanted more to steal from it. Since God looks at the heart and not the appearance (1Samuel 16:7), Jesus judged she had done the right thing.

Worship is about the heart and the life. For Abraham to show he is a worshipper of God, he needed to move beyond mere confession, into action and what was demanded was the sacrifice of his son. He needed to step up his worship and he did (Genesis 22:1-20).

God warned Israel against the participating in the worship of foreign God, but throughout their history they were caught in the web of such practices. Why was this? Remember that God had warned them against associating with foreigners, so that they will not be influenced negatively, but the peer pressure time and time again seems irresistible.

Solomon epitomises this error when he decided he needed some excitement (1Kings 11-12), something to challenge him, something new to do, and he embarked on marriage spree. He married foreign women and in the spirit of accommodation created spaces for and built shrines for their different gods, forgetting that all the spaces in Israel were for God who brought them from the house of bondage.

God’s judgment against his unfaithfulness was swift and permanent. In an unprecedented act, God took 10 tribes from the house of David and gave it to another, to Jeroboam, who instead of learning from the error of Solomon decided to codify the worship of graven images making two idols for the people, to move the heart of the people from the worship of the true God, giving them an alternative.

John wrote that we should beware of idols (1John 5:21). That is whatever seeks to hold our allegiance apart from God. He also warned against loving the world and the things in the world in, saying if that is our state, that means the love of the father is not in us (1John 2:15-17).

Worship is about devotion to God. In whatever way that is expressed in our lives is, in a general sense worship. They are the things that show that our heart is attached to God. It is a statement of commitment and attachment, which also means detachment every other thing.

A priest forever

mount-edgcumbe-house-420056_1280Hebrews 7:17: For it is testified, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

This is a direct reference to Jesus in his priesthood role. The writer of the book of Hebrews took the pain to enlighten us that though Jesus by natural lineage had nothing to do with the house of Levi, (to whom belonged the priesthood, though his cousin John the Baptist came from there), he was ordained to be priest spiritually.

God created another rule/route different from the legal rule/route of Moses, as outline in the books he wrote. That rule was a prophetic rule.

Through David it was declared that there is one coming in the order of Melchizedek who will be a priest forever (Psalm 110). That verse from which the writer of the book of Hebrews derives the words of the focus verse were messianic.

Jesus even quoted it as referring to the messiah (Matthew 22:42-46). And that must have been the consensus understanding in Israel. Even the Pharisee who had a preoccupation with the scriptures (though with the wrong motivation) and taught Israel agreed with the interpretation of Jesus that the chapter in the Old Testament was about the Christ. The point is: the coming Messiah, was also a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

As for how valid the prophetic word was, the bible says God does nothing except he reveals it to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). God uses his word as the light to show us the way he wants to go (Psalm 119:105), to point to the way he was going to take in his operation on the earth, the way he has set things, the same thing he did in the first verses of the bible (Genesis 1:1-3)

Remember the mount on which Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, that Moses and Elijah was standing with him, iconic men of the Old Testament, iconic men of law and the prophetic (Matthew 17:1-9)?

As the Lamb the law referred to Jesus, and a Priest John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and laid hands on him (Luke 3:21), just as the priest would do according to the Old Testament. But we needed the prophetic ministry of David of the tribe of Judah who was the progenitor of Jesus, to point to him as a priest; there was no such provision in the old covenant.

The job of the writer of the book of Hebrews was to display Jesus (who brought a new covenant, a new order in the relationship of God with man) as greater than anything the Old Testament have to offer, in the men and the structure of things. Getting down to it, he said that while the old priesthood was established without an oath, the priesthood of Jesus was established by an oath, God binding himself to it in absolute irreversible commitment. There was no such commitment of God to the Old Testament.

Jesus comes with an irreversible, unchanging mandate to be a priest. Therefore, the bible says that Jesus forever lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25), i.e. to stand in the gap for us, to serve as our means into everything God, everything divine (Ephesians 2:18). The bible says Jesus’ divine power has given us everything for life and godliness through the knowledge of him (Jesus) who calls us to his own glory and goodness (2Peter 1:3).

While as Lamb of God he made a sacrifice once and for all (Hebrews 10:10), as priest his work is ongoing, eternal, in a continuum, in an endless work of maintaining our access to God, as a mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:24), who has an undying nature, and he is able to minister eternal life to us, since you cannot minister what you do not have. He sustains us by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).

Because he is priest he has also made us priests (Revelation 1:6). We are his body, so we are who he is. He is who we should be, being the way, the truth and the life for us (John 14:6). As the way he leads up along, showing us the right way, he brings us to God; as the truth he brings God to us; while as the life he lives in us being the life-giving Spirit.

As a priest he needed to have something to sacrifice. And Jesus sacrifice himself, the whole dynamics of that is in the realm of the mystery of God, right up there at the level of the incarnation of Jesus. So if you can believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, just as it was prophesied that a virgin will get pregnant and give birth to a son and it happened just like that, you can believe in the eternal priesthood of Jesus, how he offered his own blood to God (Hebrews 9:24-26).

Jesus is a priest forever by the word of God, just as everything we see on the earth. The bible says in the first verses of the bible, everything in nature was made by the word of God, by divine determination. What God declares is.

The challenge is to realise the riches we have in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1: 15-21) and not like the Israelites desiring to go back into bondage, choosing the rule of Pharaoh and rejected the rule of God through Moses (Numbers 14).

After God delivered them from bondage in Egypt, where there was death, stagnancy, disappointment, hopelessness, limitation, they wanted to go back, rejecting life, progress, power and purpose, they ought to experience in God. That is difference between the Old and New Testament in which Jesus is now our priest. Paul called the Old Testament, the ministration of death (2Corinthians 3:7).

With the law, the Old Testament, the people went about in cycles, of years and months, with regular rituals, but in the priesthood of Jesus we move progressively into oneness with God, from glory to glory, from faith to faith.

It cost Paul a lot to move into the new of God having rejected all that he knew as a well taught Pharisee (Philippians 3:4-14), committed to the Old Testament as anyone was. He was confronted with the truth about Jesus, how he is the new thing. Then he jumped ship and was established as a crusader for the truth of Jesus.

But he paid the prize in persecution, he suffered the loss of all things, saying it was so that he may gain Christ and be found in him not having his own righteousness which is by the law by through faith in him.

While the majority of the Jews wanted to hold on to the rituals handed down to them in the tenets laid out by Moses, Paul embraced a new order set in Jesus. He was rejected because of that, but he did not care as long as he was accepted by God. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (rejecting the earthly outlines of rules, regulations and rituals), but pressed on and refused to be stopped.

But the children of Israel did not want to move into the land of Canaan, and they came up with all sorts of complaints against moving forward, desiring to draw back.

The writer of the book of Hebrews said he was assured that his audience, are not those who draw back to perdition but believe to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:39). Those who press on into Jesus from whatever background, and past, will experience him as high priest which is the ultimate there is.

God told Israel said that he allowed them to be hungry in the wilderness so that they will know that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3). Life proceeds from the mouth of God, and that is what we experience in Jesus, the priest forever (John 6:68).

Rejoice

marguerite-74886_6401Thessalonians 5:16: Rejoice always.

Joy is a quality of the spirit.  It is beyond what is happening on the outside but what is going on in the inside in the work of the Spirit.

It is an expression of the glow of the Spirit within you, and a sign of your inner life, of the change taking place in you by the working of God in you. While the enemy’s plan is to stark things up against you on the outside, God wants to do the same on the inside, stacking his grace up on your inside, his power, his joy. When we embrace our spiritual reality, we experience joy.

Habakkuk said that he would rejoice in God even if he does not have all he wanted (Habakkuk 3:17-19). Joy is a mark of heaven, and not of material possession.

In Christ, heaven in in our hearts, and we are inwardly changed, and now moved by things in heaven and not on earth (Colossians 3:1-4). That change comes when the Spirit of God comes to live in us. The joy we feel is generated from the throne of God which is now located in our heart (Hebrews 6:18-19), and where we are now located in a spiritual sense.

Jeremiah said: your words were found and I ate them, and they have become the joy and rejoicing of my heart (Jeremiah 15:16). That means there is a joy factor in the word. That is what Peter meant when he told Jesus: this is the reason why we cannot depart from you- you have the words of eternal life, marked by joy everlasting (John 6:68).

In 1Samuel, we read that at the time of Samuel, there was no open vision and the word of God was scarce (1Samuel 3:1). That was definitely a sad time in Israel.

When the word does not come there is spiritual starvation, there is no spiritual excitement as the word of God is the heavenly bread. What they experience was spiritual drought. In another place in the bible, God in judgment said that he was going to send a special famine, which is the famine of hearing the word of God and not of crops (Amos 8:11). There is nothing pleasant, joyful about natural drought, talk-less of the spiritual one.

When people have natural food they think they are full but in the spirit they may really miserable because they are empty of the word of God (Revelation 3:31-34). Real food, where real satisfaction comes from, real joy, comes from the word of God.

When the word of God, Jesus, manifested on the earth, the bible noted that an angel said: that will be the source of great joy for many people (Luke 2:10). When Jesus said that his meat is to do the will of God, doing his work, he was telling the disciples about the source of his joy (John 4:31-34). That means he would be restless if not doing the word of God, the will of God, neither would be energised.

That was why during a feast in Jerusalem to which his brothers thought he should go, Jesus said (hinting at how committed he was to the will of God) that he can only move if God was moving him, that his timing was different from theirs (John 7:1-10); his from spiritual observation, theirs from natural.

He choose the path of joy, the part of alignment with the will of God. Enoch we were told walked with God and was no more for God took him (Genesis 5:21-24). He was definitely a man of unquenchable joy because of that. Similarly, Jesus was not a man in the crowd, he stood out from it because of his commitment to the will of God.

The bible says in the presence of God there is fullness of joy and on his right hand are pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11). So apart from the word, in the place of prayer we also get to encounter unspeakable joy.

Many understand what it means to rejoice sometimes, but rejoice always!? That means we should be happy all the time, high on God all the time. But is that not unrealistic? But the things of God are not realistic, they are supernatural. Since the joy does not depend on us, being the joy of the Lord, being the joy that the Holy Spirit generates, that he makes possible.

The bible says that we should not be drunk with wine wherein in excess but be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20). So the reality of the Holy Spirit in our life makes it possible for us to rejoice always, because that joy is in the Lord, in recognition of his lordship and how he favours us, how we are the object of his love, how he is in total control of everything to our advantage.

Paul wrote that if we understand the height, length and breadth of the love of God we will be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-21). And with that we would feel the radiance of his love, the impact of his life, and the intensity of his presence. As mentioned earlier, the bible says that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy and on his right hand pleasures forever more. It is that “more” that leads to overflowing joy in us.

Joy is also a function of interpretation of events. James wrote: count it all joy when you fall into diver’s trial, knowing that tribulation works patience and is part of your maturing process (James 1:2-4).

So you look at the end from the beginning, from the eyes of God; that all things work together for you, for your good, who love God and are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). You are joyful because God is for you, that you are the sheep and he is the shepherd (Psalm 100:3), that you are safe, secure with him, who is ready to help you (Psalm 20), build you up and not pull you down.

Rejoicing is manifested in various ways, through singing, dancing. Paul wrote that we should let the word of Christ dwell richly in us, and that will make us sing with melody in our hearts to God (Colossians 3:16). The words of our songs are manifestations of the joy in our heart, of God’s place in our life, how because of him we have come from death to life.

Can you imagine the level of joy and excitement in the hearts of the children of Israel when by the mighty hand of God they were freed from the servitude in the Egypt, the place of tears and pain and death for them (Exodus 15:1-21)? They could not help but sing. They said: I will sing unto the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously, the horse and his riders he has thrown into the sea. They came from death to life.