Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dominion: Part 2

Before we go any further on the subject of dominion, a review of some facts discussed in Part 1 of this study is in order:

1. Dominion was given by God to men, as man and woman. (Genesis 1:26-30)
2. This dominion did not include dominion over one another. This later came about as the result of Adam's fall in Eden and specifically speaks to the relationship of the man and woman; "he shall rule over you" (Gen 3:16)
3. The temptation and fall of man is predicated upon man's desire to be AS God, and not submit as creature to creator, in obedience to God's original decree of dominion given to them.
4. Satan, the serpent, was neither given dominion, nor did he take it from men.
5. Though man still has dominion, it is corrupted, as man must labor to sustain life, and will die anyway to return to earth. The creation is subjected to futility waiting for the appearance of the sons of God in order to be released. Sin and death have entered into creation. Both man, formed from the earth, and the earth itself are cursed, as they are essentially one and the same
6. Christ comes as the last Adam, once and for all, putting to death the sinful, corrupted flesh of man (the sin nature, the first Adam) at the cross, and granting forgiveness of sins for all the elect, i.e. all who will believe in Him and His finished work. He was seen to be the last Adam, i.e. the life giving Spirit, the first fruits of the new creation, upon resurrecting from the dead, proving that He is the son of God. ( 1 Cor 15; Romans 1:1-4)
7. Christ will literally return to rule and reign on the earth, and the saints will rule and reign with Him. (Rev 5:9-14)
8. All in Christ, though looking forward to His return, must walk in obedience, here and now, to the original mandate, to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. (Matthew 28:18-20)
This is NOT accomplished by the enforcement of Mosaic law through the kingdoms of fallen man, which are Babylon, but by the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, through which comes salvation given by grace through faith, to all who are foreknown by Him, from before the foundation of the world.

Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."
(Note that kingdom is singular both times it is used here.)

True Godly dominion is restored in Christ alone.

Galatians 3:
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Abraham was called out of Babylon as the "model" of all who are elect. He heard the word, believed what he heard, and that belief was accounted to him as righteousness. This was the beginning of God's plan to establish a "new creation".
Abraham was called out of the dispersion/confusion which came about due to man's actions at Babel, where once again humankind desired to rule as God.
Paul puts Abraham, the covenant given to him, his offspring, and the saints existence in Christ, in harmony. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. The unity found in Christ brings us back to the original dominion given at creation.
All who participate in this unity are children of Abraham. They come out of the corrupt dominion of men and into the Kingdom of God. Abraham was not looking for an earthly domain. He was looking for a city built by God (the New Jerusalem) and not by men (Babel). The Lord will bring that city, His bride, to the new earth, the place He has prepared for her. (Rev 21:1-4)
Paul is adamant throughout Galatians; the new creation does not come by the Law, nor through religious practice, but through God's call.

Galatians 6:15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

It is necessary to look at Christ and His life, death and resurrection to discern the restoration of God's mandate to man.
First and foremost, the fallen Adamic nature had to be dealt with:

John 12:
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

John 14:
30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,
31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

John 16:
8 And when he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus reveals the divine plan.
The question is; who is the ruler of this world?
Going back to the fact that dominion was given to Adam, and was never rescinded; the ruler of THIS world is fallen man, those who are in the first Adam. The ruler of the new creation is Christ, i.e. the last Adam, and all who are in Christ shall rule and reign with Him.
In all three of these passages, the Lord is speaking about His impending crucifixion and death.
He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, (flesh meaning man).
None of the above scripture is speaking of Satan as ruler or prince of this world.
The ruler of this world is judged and cast out, that is put to death. How? When He is lifted up, He will draw all people to Himself. This speaks of the judgment of all of mankind, Christ crucified. (1 Cor 2:2)
Only those who look upon Him and believe will be saved. (John 3:14-21; Numbers 21:8-9)
The ruler of this world is coming, and Jesus goes straight into the “ambush”, for the old creation has nothing on the new. (Acts4:24-28)
The Holy Spirit convicts the world (post-crucifixion) of judgment, because the ruler of this world (man) has been judged.

I believe the same is applied to Paul and his letter to Corinth:

2Cor4: 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Who is the "god of this world" but the one who desires to be God... man himself. Men are blind to the truth that Christ is both God, and the new man, and salvation comes no other way.
Nowhere in scripture can we find Satan attempting to usurp the throne. That has always been man's desire since Eve ate the fruit. Satan is subject to God’s will also. (Job 1: 6-12)
I believe that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are among the most abused passages in scripture. They speak of men not the devil. The statue spoken of in Daniel 2 represents the kingdom of man, with the King of Babylon (Babel) always to be the head. The feet of iron and clay show the weak footing that this kingdom stands upon. It is the “heavenly rock: which destroys the statue by striking the feet first, and becomes a great mountain filling the earth with God's glory.
Satan is not a god at all. The “satanic church” began essentially as a strawman, constructed by the Roman Catholic church of the dark ages and medieval times, in an attempt to justify its' dogmas and practices, indeed its’ very existence.
Satan was created to be Satan, the father of all lies, and the accuser of the brothers.
Christ did not come in the likeness of fallen angels. Their judgment was already assured. (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6)

Christ As Last Adam; The New Creation
God has always possessed the knowledge of good and evil, yet He was, is, and always will be, perfect in all His ways.
The One incapable of sin had to take on flesh in order restore the proper order.

Romans 5:19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

The knowledge of good and evil brings death to all, but the Lord who already has that knowledge.

2Corithians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God's holiness is that separation of Himself from all that is evil and sinful, and nowhere is that difference more apparent than when He hung as the cursed one upon the cross, yet still without blemish in any way. Glory to God, that though He became accursed, He did not return to dust as the first Adam did. (Genesis 3:17; Acts2:22-32 and 13: 32-39)

Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Through the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil a type of wisdom was gained. The fruit looked good, was good to taste, and provided a wisdom that spelled death for mankind. Such knowledge is meant for God alone.

The tree of life also produced wisdom as fruit.

Proverbs 3:
13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.
19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.

The fruit of the forbidden tree brings death to those who will not acknowledge God, but worship man.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

The wisdom that brings life begins with acknowledging in worship who the creator is.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

The reverential fear of the Lord is simply acknowledging God as creator and the one who holds all dominion. In granting dominion, He proves all dominion is His. All authority is given to Christ in order that we may establish his kingdom in the earth. It is a kingdom which does not originate in this world, nor does it function as the world does.
Dominion is given not taken. The “promised land” was given to the Hebrews who were to go in and occupy not "take it for God". All is His. All who wish to “seize” dominion prove that they are not of Christ. That is man’s way, not God’s.

Joshua 18:3 So Joshua said to the people of Israel, "How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?

Dominion is established only through the gospel of grace, all else is man's works; that is…. hubris.

Jude 1:
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dominion: Part 1

Genesis 1:

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.

When God created man, male and female, that is after He had made woman out of man, He gave them dominion. Man was made in His image and likeness. Man is not God, but he was given a dominion which displays the glory of God.

In this first passage from Genesis we see that man was given dominion only after the circumstances described in Genesis 2:21-25 occurred. (this directly corresponds to Gen 1:27). God has a will and a purpose, and He intentionally planned the chronology of the events.

Man was given dominion only over the animals, be they birds, fish, reptiles, over every living thing. However, man was not given dominion over man, i.e. in this narrative, woman. The reason being that man was made in God’s image and likeness and in order to accurately portray God’s perfection, man who does not rule over God, must not rule over what is made in God’s image.

Only God holds dominion over men. Indeed He holds dominion over all He created, which is proven by the His giving limited dominion to the first man and woman, made in “His image and likeness” .

They were not God. They are part of creation, the creature not the creator. We can never create ad God does, that is calling something into being where nothing has previously existed. We procreate. We work with what we have been given, be it the sexual union to fill the earth, or the work of our minds and hands to subdue it. Because of all these things, subsequent events would have a catastrophic effect on the entirety of creation.

The Fall

Genesis 3:

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,

3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

The enticement offered by the serpent was half lie, half truth.

The lie being that they would not know death after consuming the fruit. The truth being that they would be like God, in knowing good and evil. (Gen 2:16-17; 3:22-23)

Genesis 3:

14 The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

16 To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

17 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

What is evident here is that man never lost the dominion and mandate that God had given prior to the Fall. The serpent never took dominion from man. In fact, the prophetic judgment of God is that enmity would exist between the woman’s offspring and the serpent’s, and that her offspring would crush the serpent’s head, but at a cost.

This of course points to God in man, the incarnate Christ entering creation to live, die, and rise, for all the saints.

The serpent is told that he will crawl on his belly, eat dust, and that a man will rule over him, crush his head. That is hardly taking or being given dominion.

The woman is told that she and her descendants would produce the Messiah, but that the very act of reproduction would come at the cost of pain and travail. Another consequence of her being seduced by the serpent is that her husband would now “rule over her”. Because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve, wives would submit to their husbands. Remember that dominion over each other was not a part of the original mandate.

Later the apostle Paul would write:

1Timothy 2:

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;

14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Adam was given rule over his wife, as he had listened to her and ate the fruit. (she had assumed rule over him)

Adam and had been told to subdue the earth, however the earth was now cursed because of his sin, and from that point on would not be co-operative with his efforts. He would be required to sweat to provide for his family, only to return to the cursed ground after death. Adam being made from the earth is cursed as the earth is.

Romans 8:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Truly creation longs for the “sons of God” to be have Godly dominion once again. This only comes through Christ, the last Adam. He alone accomplishes the work of restoring the original dominion given to man.

His followers will fill the earth, subdue it and reign upon it with Him, after he returns as King, Lord, and Adam, the new creation.

I am not preaching “theonomics” or dominion theology here. This has nothing to do with restoring the Mosaic Law, or taking over the current governments to rule under that Law. Recall that in the original creation man did not have dominion over man. Also recall that the only command given by God was to NOT EAT from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

There was no law, nor system of government until after the fall and predominantly after the dispersion at Babel. It has always been an issue of life vs death. Even Moses knew that the Law will only take us as far as the Jordan Joshua (Yeshua) must take us into the land. Deut 30:9-20; Deut 18:15


Matthew 20:

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Unregenerate man is forever cursed to be a god unto himself. The consequences of eating the forbidden fruit is that like God, he knows good and evil, but unlike God, he is part of creation, and is not the creator. Man had attempted to take dominion that was never given to him. So we see the world’s history filled with man’s attempts to rule through, military power, economic enslavement, even through the enforcement of racial. cultural, and religious superiority. Man seeks to ascend to the throne of God. This is Babylon, the kingdom of men. Genesis 11:1-9; Ezekiel 28:2; Isaiah 14:13-14

Again Paul would write:

Romans 1:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Man worships images of himself, and all the creatures over which he was told to have dominion, i.e. birds animals, and creeping things etc. Man is now bondage to the very things over which he was to rule. There is no difference between dictators or environmental terrorists. Neither care about humanity that was once created in God’s image and likeness, nor those who are now re-created in Christ as God’s image and likeness.

Colossians 1:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.

17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Christ is not only the last Adam, He is God in the flesh. He not only reigns with a ”rod of iron” (Rev 12:5; Rev 19:15) ; He will also give the saints, that is, His body, authority and dominion to rule and reign.

Revelation 2:

26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,

27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.

28 And I will give him the morning star.

Revelation 5:

9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

This will not be seen in its’ fullness until He first returns. The restoration of man is

accomplished only through Him.

In my next post I would like to look at how this dominion is restored in Christ at the cross, and the role of Satan in all of this.

Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Joseph; God's Will Is Never A Pipe Dream

Genesis37: 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.

Genesis 37:
18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.
19 They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer.

Genesis45: 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

Genesis 50:
18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants."
19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

The term pipe dream originates from the days of the opium den during the late 1800's. It seems that smoking the drug induced some rather incredible imaginings. Opium was used quite a bit by writers of that day among many others. Today the use of the term speaks of a plan or goal which is in essence beyond actual achievement. It is beyond the power of the "dreamer" to bring it to reality. Thus it will always remain a dream.

Praise the Lord this is not so with the plan of God.
There re many in the narrative of scripture that have had true God-given, i.e. prophetic dreams;
Jacob, Joseph the husband of Mary, even Pilate's wife was given a warning in her dream.
Probably the most well known passages re: a dream would be that of Joseph, the son of Jacob.
Genesis 37 gives us the foundation of Joseph's story.
The dream given to Joseph by the Lord was in reality, a revelation of the way God would fulfill the covenant-promise he had given to Abraham. (Gen12:6-9; 15:1-16)

The story is a very familiar one, and like Noah's ark and the Exodus, has become so familiar even to the unbelieving world, that it also loses it's significance to the church.
Joseph has two dreams which essentially mean the same thing. His brothers, and even his father will submit to him.
Now I have heard some say that had Joseph not said anything to his brothers who already had little love for him, the bad circumstances which were to come upon him need not have happened. Not so in the plan of God as Joseph and all of his actions were foreknown by the Lord. God used the "negative" circumstances to carry His plan to its' conclusion.
So Joseph endures being thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, being falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, thrown into prison, seemingly left to live his life out in obscurity and confinement.
However the scriptures also tells us that Joseph was successful even in those circumstances, as God caused him to have success in the circumstances. 9Gen 39:2-6; 39:20-23)
It is important to note that in both Potiphar's house and in the prison, Joseph was in essence second in command.
Now Joseph was no only given dreams from the Lord, h was also given the gift of interpreting the dreams of others. Because he had correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh's cup-bearer and baker, both whom were briefly imprisoned with Joseph, he was to be set free 2 years later when his ability to interpret would become known to Pharaoh.
Joseph, at 30 years of age, by interpreting Pharaoh's dream revealing 7 years of plenty and 7 years of drought was given honor and authority as "second in command" in all of Egypt.(Gen 41:39-46)
The drought lead to Jacob sending his sons to Egypt for grain and there they encountered their younger brother who recognized them, but was not yet recognized by them. They entered into his presence and bowed. Then comes some of the most profound words in the scripture:

Gen 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them.........."

From this point one Joseph began actively co-working with the Lord to bring about God's will for the establishment of a nation to be born from captivity. Joseph used his wiles to bring all of his brothers and father's household to Egypt. The rest, as they say, is history. From this incredible beginning would come
the "son of God". (Exodus 4:22-23;Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15) and the Exodus of the regenerate.

What does this mean to the saints today?

Romans 8:
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Isaiah45: 7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Everything that had happened to Joseph up to the point of his brothers coming to Egypt for grain were out of his control. All these things were done "to him" even the Lord giving him the dreams and the gift of interpretation. Nowhere does it say that Joseph wanted this, or actively participated in causing these things.

Therefore the Lord who is the source of both, light and darkness, well-being and calamity, did all these things. So Paul correctly tells the saints that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, i.e. those who are called according to His purpose.
Joseph loved God, and showed it by acting with integrity no matter where he found himself, and he was most definitely called to God's higher purpose.
After his brothers came to him in submission, Joseph remembered the dream God had given him, and began proactively participating in its' fulfillment
He got beyond himself and began to see the big picture. It wasn't about his destiny to become an important man in the government of a world power,it was about God's purposes in bringing him to such a place.
Oh that the saints of God would get hold of this vision.
We are no different than Joseph or Paul or any of the other saints They endured there own set of circumstances and so do we. We are not exempt. Even Christ endured the circumstances for the higher call. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Ephesians 1:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

There is a purpose and plan; a higher calling beyond ourselves to which the Lord has called us to.
Whatever we go through; wherever we are, God has willed it to be so.

Well did Jeremiah encourage the exiles:

Jeremiah 29:
4 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.
6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,
9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.
10 "For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

The plans for welfare, a future and hope, included being sent into exile.
Greater encouragement can be found in the fact the Joseph's story didn't end with his family settling in Egypt We would have them all live happily ever after.


Genesis 50:
22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's house. Joseph lived 110 years.
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph's own.
24 And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."
25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."
26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Exodus 13:
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here."

Joshua24: 32 As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.

Even in death Joseph's story reveals God's ways and thoughts, which are higher than man's.
Joseph had reached a point in his walk where he saw this. He had been given great revelation.

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

It's all about Him. He does it all, or it never gets done. He saves, or no one is saved.
He gives the dreams and visions and makes them come to pass.
Truly outside of Christ all of our dreams are pipe dreams. God's will always reaches its' fulfillment.

Isaiah 55:10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jars Of Clay

Romans 9:20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"
21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, "He did not make me"; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"?

Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

2Ti 2:20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.

2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

All of the above passages speak of the same thing. The fact that we are formed of the clay of the earth, i.e. Adam, and fashioned by the hand of the Lord into useful vessels. The scripture writers use the picture of the potter and clay vessel as a metaphor.

Of course we know that the master potter is the Lord almighty, the creator, the one who fashions us. We also know that this speaks not only of our physical bodies, but also of our calling into His purpose.
However there is one problem, our interpretation of the process.
A lump of clay is thrown on the wheel and formed into a vessel, put into the fire of the kiln to harden and then sometimes painted with decorative artwork, depending on the purpose it has been created for.
If there is a flaw, or something goes wrong anywhere in the process, the vessel is destroyed and work begins on a completely new one.
God as the master potter has formed vessels for many uses; some for honorable uses some for dishonorable; some for mercy, some for wrath. The point here is, they are finished vessels. They are what they are. They are perfect in their purpose. He makes no mistakes.
We interpret these passages as speaking to OUR spiritual growth and maturing. It is all about what we desire to be made into.
Isaiah and Paul answer such a notion in firm manner; who are you to tell the master you don't like how it has been done? This is not a process anymore. We are finished vessels. We are made for mercy or we are not. We have a place of honor in the work, or labor in obscurity until He honors us.

1Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

We should rejoice that we are vessels made for mercy.

Luke 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.
20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

I am not saying that there is no growth, that we do not learn and mature. What I am saying is that what we will be has already been determined by Him. This is the revelation of the potter to the clay; you are what I have made you to be.
Woe to a church that is inwardly focused, for even when we admit He is the potter, all the time we are really looking to be made into what we would term to be, a more desirable vessel.
This is truly what may be termed, false humility. It is pride in beggar's rags.
He requires obedience not sacrifice, i.e. religious pretense.
This is not about our "spiritual journey", or our destiny. It is about the one whose workmanship we are.
Truly it is written:

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

God gives grace to the truly humble.
A truly humble man is not one who thinks less of himself; the truly humble never think of themselves at all. God does it all, and gets all the credit.
We are all crafted and gifted according to His perfect wisdom and will, and all glory to the potter!

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Soli Deo Gloria