Covenant of peace

white-tailed-doe-599829_640Isaiah 54:10: For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (ESV)

The bible says that in Jesus we have peace with God (Romans 5:1), being what was lost in the disobedience of Adam in the Garden of Eden. From him we inherited a lack of peace with God, which manifested the first time when Adam and Eve ran from God in the Garden, after they sinned.

What was lost in the garden through disobedience, after Adam and Eve failed the temptation of the devil, was gained in the wilderness with the obedience of Jesus. He went through the temptation of the devil but chose to obey and he made available peace with God for those who believe in him, in spiritual connection to him.

This parallels what happened with Saul, the first king of Israel (mirroring the first Adam) and David, the second king of Israel (mirroring the second Adam [1Corinthians 15:45], Jesus).

When Saul under pressure decided to not follow the word of God in the thirteenth chapter of first Samuel, he deprived his lineage the right to be rulers in Israel. In the same way, Adam deprived us of peace with God.

David went beyond the revealed by the will of God to him, setting his heart to build the temple of God. And God committed himself to his lineage, saying he will not lack someone to seat on the throne in Israel. So what David did benefited those who came from him. They benefitted from the favour of God on David because of his devotion. And we now enjoy the favour of God on Jesus. The bible says that as many who believed on his name are given the rights to be sons of God, definitely on the account of Jesus Christ.

And what Saul did was to the disadvantage of those who came after him. Just as what the first Adam did put us at a disadvantage.

Solomon became king after David. Solomon means peaceful. He is the symbol of the covenant of peace that we have in Jesus. God wanted his peace to reign in our hearts, just as Solomon reigned on the throne in Israel.

With the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden, man went from the zone of peace to the zone of war, from peace to fear dominating the heart. But Jesus comes with the Spirit of love, power and sound mind (2Timothy 1:6-7).

And the bible says that the God of peace will soon crush the devil under our feet soon (). When peace is lost then victory is lost, and praying is related to the coming of peace in to our heart in the New Testament context.

When we confess Jesus Christ, i.e. “swear allegiance” to the prince of peace, we are saved. We stop being afraid, as we come into fellowship with God, through his son Jesus, who is actually called Prince of Peace.

He leads us into peace with God. Being Prince of peace means he leads those who follow him to that reality, into the experience of his own peace with God.

And Paul said that we should not worry but with prayer and thanksgiving we should make our request known to God, “and the peace of God will keep ours heart, and that peace comes through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).”

So there is peace with God (assurance of salvation) and there is peace in our heart, which is a mark of the presence of God there, as in prayer we pull back at the pressures of life and yield ourselves to divine influence, in the gateway to peace, as we follow his will for our life.

There are different covenants in the bible. When God made man he established a covenant of fruitfulness with him, saying: be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and that covenant still subsists as long as the earth remains (Genesis 1:26-28).

The gay movement is partly the devil’s attempt to come against the covenant and make it fail. But it will not happen. It is to make mockery of the plan of God for multiplying human being on the earth, but it will fail.

After the time of destruction on the earth in which only Noah and his family remained, God set a rainbow on the earth after his covenant of preservation was cut between humanity and man. He said: as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest will not cease, cold and heat too.

That was the second and last covenant with humanity, in general. Afterwards, God made personal covenants, first with Abraham. That is based on personal relationship. While the previous ones were based on creator creature relationship, the subsequent covenants were conditional and based on personal relationship, contingent on individual’s obedience.

Abraham was given specific instructions, which the last being the instruction to offer his only son as sacrifice (Genesis 12, Genesis 22). That was a covenant on which all other covenants afterwards stood. It is linked to the final routing of the devil from the earth. It is loaded with blessings.

Jesus is the seed of Abraham the ultimate inheritor of the blessing of Abraham, according to scriptures (Galatians 3:13-16). Jesus is God himself coming to the earth to personally roll back the work of the devil (1John 3:8), and now Jesus shed his blood on the earth, to restore all men from all races and families to peace with God.

We have the gift of eternal life once we attach ourselves to Jesus in belief. We come into the covenant of peace that Jesus symbolises.

It is conditional, you have to believe Jesus, so because it is conditional, the devil can successfully cut some people off from taking advantage of the covenant which is between Jesus and God (conditioned primarily on his obedience, and secondarily on ours as we believe the gospel), and we become part of the arrangement between Jesus and God, being part of the body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:27) and being joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Who is Jesus?

jesus-284414_640Isaiah 9:6: For a child has been born for us; a son has been given to us. And the dominion will be on his shoulder, and his name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (ESV)

Those words are prophetic and interesting. He wrote of an event that was yet to happen as if it has already happened.

The bible says that God calls those things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17). He does this because he is beyond time, but in the incarnation, he chose to be subject to time for the suffering of death. It is the same timelessness of God that made what was said many years ago in the scriptures, powerful enough to connect with us today, as God communicates to us through it.

Isaiah said: a child has been born. He presents a point of view of God who speaks of things that be not as though they were.

He does that sometimes to hide from man the intent of his word, so that hearing they will hear, but will not understand (Isaiah 6:9-10). He does that to hide things in plain sight. And the bible say: it is the glory of God to conceal a thing but the honour of man to search it out (Proverbs 25:2).

If you have not met Jesus, it will be difficult to interpret the words of the focus verse. How would a child be born that will be called Mighty God? It does not make sense.

Jesus told the Pharisees: ye search the scriptures for truth, but until you realise that they point to me you will not get it (John 5:39-40). We have to start with him and work backwards. We have to read into words of the Old Testament the reality of the person of Jesus as revealed in the New Testament, even though that may not tally with the best methods of hermeneutics.

And to understand our days now, we have to start with him and work forwards. He must be the centre, the fulcrum, everything revolved around him. If you cannot see him you are not seeing well, it does not matter what point of view you espoused and how esoteric it is, regardless of who taught you.

Paul said he was a Pharisee, the son of Pharisee (Acts 23:6), having been taught by one of the greatest teachers of the law (Acts 22:3), and he was also more zealous than most (Galatians 1:14), but he said that he regarded what he knew as dung in order to gain Christ (Philippians 3).

The phrases used to describe Jesus in the focus verse are instructive. He is wonderful. His birth was a thing of wonder. He is man formed from just the egg of Mary and the infusion of the Spirit of God, he put on flesh but his origin was eternity. John spoke in great wonder of him saying: we beheld his glory as that of the only begotten of the father full of grace and truth (John 1:12-14).

In another place Isaiah said a virgin will conceive and will give birth to a child who will be called Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14). That and the focus verse do not seemed directly related on the face of it. The prophecies were made at different times.

But when we see how everything lined up, how they fit together in him (Jesus) (Colossians 1:16-17), the two verses fit well.

The identity of Jesus was pretty hidden and it takes revelation to know him, which was why he said no one can come to me without my father drawing him (John 6:44). When we are drawn, it is to the Prince of Peace, and receiving him we have peace with God. As prince of peace his dominion is marked by peace. As he brings the presence of God near to us, he shapes us and corrects in the area where we are dysfunctional.

He is both mighty God and prince of peace, both everlasting father and counsellor. The question now is: how can one be born who is at the same time everlasting. In human experience, what is born comes to an end.

That Son would doubtlessly be special, one of a kind. He was going to be the bridge between heaven and earth, he will reshape our view about who God is, rather than we trying to get to heaven to be equal with God as human being did when they attempted to build the tower of babel, Jesus came down to becomes like us and through the Holy Spirit which he baptises us with, God comes to stay in us, in his heavenly presence.

The child is born for us, the son is given to us: that is a statement of how important you are. It shows how important you are that you are not forgotten, God who gave his only begotten for us, how much more will he, together with him, freely give us all things (John 8:, 1Corinthians 2:12).

The giving of his son whom we should receive should start us on the journey for receiving other spiritual things from God, the endless unveiling of the possibilities in Jesus, the acknowledging of the good things in us in Christ Jesus, the spiritual blessings we have been blessed with (Ephesians 1:3).

The Lord becomes our portion in the land of the living (Psalm 142:5), where before then we have spiritually dead.

From the focus verse, we learn that dominion will be on the shoulder of Jesus. That brings to mind the dominion which was the portion of man when he was created (Genesis 1:26-28).

But the plan of God will not be thwarted and there was another Adam now made a life-giving, who came from the dead (1Corinthians 15:45).

That is Jesus, who was set on the earth and who by sacrifice got back the dominion on the earth. At the end of it all, he said: all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. He got the dominion back, and it is now packed in his name.

The bible says that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is lord (Philippians 2:5-11).

With the manifestation of Jesus through our words and action, the bible says we destroy the works of the devil (1John 3:8), we get to know God as never possible before by the Holy Spirit whose mission is to reveal Jesus, cause him to be manifested in his ability his passion, his commission, his life, all lived out through us by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Grace, mercy and peace

CB0177272Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Grace

Grace is the help that comes from God, which cannot come from any other source. Grace is the precursor for the acts of God’s favour to and through men.

When God calls us to do a particular work, he gives us his grace to carry it out. It doesn’t matter what it is. The resources that he makes available are from his grace.

When God wanted Moses to build a tabernacle for him in the wilderness; he mentioned certain people by name that he had endowed with intelligence, capability and skill, to turn all the gold and other raw materials that will be are needed, from the raw state to the exact things in the mind of God (Exodus 31:1-11). Those men were appointed by God to do the work to perfection, and they had the grace to execute it.

Only the hand of God can do the work of God. This is why he endows us with his grace, so that our hands become His.

His grace not only operates through us but it also operates in us. It causes attitudinal change in us; it causes long standing stubborn habit to be gone in our lives. It makes sure that we are on the path of life through Christ Jesus. His grace sees us through all negative situations and circumstances. Grace is the divine causative agent of everything good in us.

It is the means of God saving us. We were rotten in trespasses and sin and we were strangers to God. We are in bondage to Satan, kept imprisoned by inordinate passions that we cannot do anything about on our own.

But the grace of God made all the difference. The bible says that by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

Also, our spiritual assignment is not our work; it is the work of God, not an expression of our ability but God’s. We are only called to yield to the grace working in and through us.

When the message of the gospel of Jesus is proclaimed, it is a call to receive grace (Romans 5:17). It is not a call for performance, trying to be a better person, nor a call to sadness and a joyless life. Actually the bible says that the kingdom is in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

There is the joy of salvation that trumps whatever men seek by taking cigarettes, and hard drugs like cocaine, heroine, marijuana, crystal meth, etc. There is a joy of salvation that is like an ever-springing well on our inside, which cannot be moved but is sustained by God himself.

So when we come to Jesus, we have come to grace (John 1:14-17). It leads us into a new life, causing us to swim in divine blessings, making us able to impact the lives of others. Paul wrote that we should let our words be seasoned with salt ministering grace to the hearers, so that just as we receive grace we also convey it to others (Ephesians 4:29), edifying them.

Mercy

Grace pushes you into your future; mercy removes you from your past, while peace settles you in the present.

Mercy qualifies the unqualified. The healing of the man paralysed for decades, sitting at the pool of Bethesda is a classic expression of mercy. His past was sinful as Jesus Christ later told him after healing him that he should now live holy from them on.

When Jesus came to him, lying there at the pool paralysed, He asked him a question and he didn’t answer well. However, Jesus released healing to him anyway (John 5:1-16). Years of stagnation for the man came to an end.

If the man was not picked for a miracle, he would most probably have died in his condition. His was a most pathetic situation. It was mercy that reached out to him, disregarding his history and shortcomings and blessing him.

The mercy of God extends forgiveness of sins to us. We were not forgiven because we promised to be better, neither was it because we have offered God anything to compensate him for our rebellion; it was his mercy through and through, that we are accepted in the beloved, after our sins were cleansed away.

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:8). His mercy motivated him.  While he hung on the cross, he asked that God forgive his crucifiers because they don’t know what they do (Luke 23:34).

Peace

Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). When he was leaving the disciples on earth, he said that he is leaving his peace with them, not as the world gives (John 14:27). It is a different kind of peace that flows from heaven.

Paul said we should not be anxious for anything, but with prayer, supplication and thanksgiving we should let our requests be make known to God (Philippians 4:6-7), and God will invest us with his peace. Peter also said that we should be anxious for nothing, but we should cast our care upon the Lord (1Peter 5:7).

Jesus and his disciples at a time were crossing the sea. The sea and the wave of the sea rose. The disciples were at their wit’s end but Jesus was fast asleep. They panicked. They questioned Jesus, saying, doesn’t he care if they die (Mark 4:25-31)? He was woken up. But instead of joining them to panic, he rebuked the wind and the storm, saying peace be still. He is a man of peace, bringing peace and calm to life’s raging storms. Inclusive of the one you are presently experiencing. God is about calming the agitations of the heart. The peace of God is meant to guard our hearts in Christ Jesus (Colossians 3:15). The devil will have you troubled but the peace of God counters that in us.

Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); it is the mark of a settled relationship with God. The bible says through Jesus we have peace with God (Romans 5:1-2). That peace is not given by achievement. It is the result of the Prince of peace coming into us. The presence of God is manifest in peace that crushes all the works of the devil. Paul wrote that the God of peace will soon crutch the devil under our feet (Romans 16:20).

The peace, the sense of wholeness and completeness of divinity represents the kingdom of God coming to bare on the earth, because peace is an heavenly reality.

The destiny of Jesus

rain-widescreen-wallpaper-12Samuel 3:18: Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.

Though Jesus was not mentioned in the above verse, the very thing that David was meant to do in the natural sense for the children of Israel are the things that Jesus should do for believers in a grander scale that encompasses the spiritual.

The bible says that for this purpose the son of man was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (1John 3:8). Jesus said that the devil came to steal, kill and destroy but he has come so that we may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). He counters the spirit of death with his Spirit of life (Romans 8:1-2).

As a type of Jesus, Moses was used by God to free Israel from bondage in Egypt. Are you bound to any bad habit; it is the destiny of Jesus to make that history in your life, to make you free from untoward habit; he stands for freedom. His destiny is to make us free from whatever the devil wants to put on us.

Jesus had the assignment of dealing with death, heart turmoil and sickness. Death was a function of our spirit (we were spiritually dead [Ephesians 2:1]); sin, our soul; while sickness is about our body. The cross represents the culmination of the work of Jesus on these three fronts.

As the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:1-2), he brings peace to us in our relationship with God (Romans 5:1), peace is our experience in our soul (John 14:27), and peace is the area of health in our body, because sickness is the body in turmoil.

The work of Jesus can also be captured in one word: restoration. This is to remake us and our experiences, in a way that it is not different from how it was originally. To restore painting, you need to have an accurate understanding or how it was. And who has a more accurate picture of how we were if not our creator?  Jesus is the creator (John 1:1-5) and he has the blueprint of how we should look like.

He became who we should be, walking on the earth for thirty something years. Dying at that age shows that ageing was not part of the plan of God for humanity. That reflects the truth that it was in the plan of God for us that we should be everlasting beings.

How?

If death was not part of the original arrangement, then we were supposed to have the no sign of ageing on us (I am speaking of a world were Adam did not fall). It is my thinking that definitely there was no sign of aging on Jesus at the time he hung on the cross.

Now Jesus is eternally aged thirty three, in his looks, in his everlasting human form. One can also project that when one dies, all signs of sickness, death and aging would disappear from the body in the after world, at least if you go to be with the Lord as a Christian. John wrote that we don’t know how we would be, but we know we will be like him (1John 3:1-3). For starters, he looks like a thirty-three year old.

However there is another thought: since God is defined as being the ancient of days with the hair on his head like pure wool (Daniel 7:9), maybe the plan was that age was meant to only show in the whitening of the hair?

Jesus said that after resurrection we shall be like the angels in heaven, angels don’t age (Matthew 22:30), they are not subject to earthly decay which is the direct result of the punishment of man; that dust he is and would return (Genesis 3:19). The process of “returning” is the ageing process.

It is the destiny of Jesus to make ageing history in the new world to come. He removed the limitation of death from man. Death is our enemy (1Corinthians 15:25-26), it limits and Jesus has come to remove the limits from us.

He was made poor so that we can become rich (2Corinthians 8:9). That is part of the limit-removing destiny of Jesus. Lack of money can be limiting. The bible says that a poor wise man is forgotten, the spread of his fame is limited (Ecclesiastes 9:14-15). Also we read that money answers all things (Ecclesiastes 10:19). Apart from being sustained with food and raiment, we are meant to extend our hands to the needy in physical terms.

The bible says that God is able to make all grace abound towards us, so that having all sufficiency in all things we may abound unto every good work (2Corinthians 9:8). And it is the grace of the Lord Jesus that is being referred to; that limit breaking grace.

Jesus wants to break the limit in our soul, in our mind. Paul said that, those who are spiritual have the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:9-16). He also wrote that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of sound mind (1Timothy 1:6-8). For those in him, Jesus Christ represents for us wisdom (1Corinthians 1:30) and the breaking of our limits of the knowledge of God. He came to break the limit of what is possible with God.

Also there is the limit of our body, in sicknesses and diseases and Christ set out by bearing stripes on his back, to free us from them (1Peter 2:24). That is part of the mission of Christ, it should be proclaimed as such. Jesus said that in his name we would lay hands on the sick and they will recover (Mark 16:15-18).

It is his destiny, to not only help us deal with satanic agenda in our lives by to equip us to help others also. He told the disciples that he has given them the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions (Luke 10:19), representing the powers of the enemy; and to trample them underfoot. We are a major force of Christ on the earth; we are spiritual wrestlers against satanic forces; we are soldiers in the army of Jesus (2Timothy 2:1-4) fighting with truth, love and power.

Of the destiny of Jesus, Zacharias the father of John the Baptist said of Jesus that he will deliver us from our enemies that we may serve God without fear (Luke 1:67-79). The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus was manifested to deliver us who all our lives were subject to bondage to the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-18).

By defeating death Jesus stands as the source of freedom, unending freedom. We were told that with one sacrifice he has saved forever those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).