Monthly Archives: October 2012

WHEN DID JESUS GET “ALL AUTHORITY”?

It must be understood that Jesus had been given authority, at least over all the earth, but probably over all of heaven, too (see Luke 10:17-20), as soon as he conquered Satan in temptation (Matt. 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13), for immediately thereafter, he started heralding the Kingdom of the Heavens (Matt. 4:17)/of God (Mark 1:14-15), having returned “in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14) into Galilee, declaring that Isaiah 61:1-2a had been fulfilled (Luke 4:21) and then curing everyone in sight!  (Matt. 4:23-25)

So when Jesus declared to his disciples before his ascension, Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), this was not (or not entirely) a fruit of his resurrection, but of his victory in temptation, which commenced his ministry with power from on high as a result.  This is why he was authorized to give authority to his disciples (Matt. 10:1, Luke 9:1, Mark 6:7) even before the Resurrection and Pentecost.  But, granted, the power was more abundant after his resurrection, for after all, he had become victorious again in his last and much more severe temptation at Gethsemane and the Cross, where he was in such a struggle that he sweat blood and a messenger from heaven came and strengthened him (Luke 22:43-44, cf., Matt. 16:18), as after his first trial (Matt. 4:11).

This two-phase granting of authority and the power of the Spirit for signs and miracles and cures and healing, etc., may explain why Jesus breathed on his disciples “early,” before his ascension, to get Wholesome Spirit (John 20:22) and be authorized to forgive and to hold (i.e., not forgive) anyone’s sins–in effect the “keys of the Kingdom” (Matt. 16:13-20).  [3/21/05]

OVERCOMPENSATION and JOY

God’s justice demands an overcompensation for injury.  In other words, the injurer must pay back the victim of the injury and add a surplus (sometimes several fold) beyond what the injury cost the victim.  The reason?  TO RESTORE JOY to the victim.  This is an essential element of God’s Kingdom.  The one who stole joy ought to repay it.

And, naturally, as we would expect, this fundamental truth of the universe is best illustrated by the Cross/Resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah.  In this case, however, the abusers of Jesus could never have repaid him for their unjust injuries against him.  Rather, God Himself intervened, out of uncreated love, and reacted in graciousness to overcompensate His Son Himself, to give him his due! So whereas under the Old Covenant murder was too heinous a crime to be overcompensated by any amount of money or property (an “in kind” payment of the life of the murderer was required instead), the New Covenant was inaugurated when God the Father Himself acted miraculously from His celestial throne to overcompensate His grievously abused, though completely innocent, Son with resurrection from the dead, exaltation to sovereignty over the entire created order, and the indescribable Gift of superabundant favor–the promised Spirit of wholesomeness–to give away gratuitously to all who trust this Proclamation!

It is this divine graciousness (χαρις) that restored fulness of Kingdom joy (χαρα) to the mortal human race, thus inviting their endless, boundless thanksgiving (ευχαριστια) to God!  [6/23/05]

It is clear from both the teaching and practice of Jesus that he came to liberate humans from the respective bondages of medical, financial, political, military, and religious AUTHORITY by DISPLACEMENT, not REVOLUTION–not by INSURRECTION but by RESURRECTION!  Thereby he inaugurated a New Creation…a New Humanity that responds to Messiah’s headship and his Spirit’s leadership.  [1/21/06]

If the complete RESURRECTION of the body is “in the Atonement,” then surely the current HEALING of the body is!  [2/9/06]

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RESURRECTION-FOCUSED PROCLAMATION

The Crucifixion does not imply the Resurrection at all, but the Resurrection always entails the Cross.  It is for this simply reason that our Proclamation must ever remain Resurrection-centered in order to stay balanced and whole.  [12/5/04]

Jesus was the very soul (ψυχη) of graciousness and truth.  He emptied his soul—the very contents (πληρωμα) of Deity—out of his celestial form and put on (ενδυ-) human flesh (σαρξ), the form of a slave, the likeness of humanity, the body (σομα) that God adapted (καρτιζ-) to his soul.  Being found in fashion (σχημα) as a human, he humbled himself, learning obedience as a Son from the abuse that he suffered unto death, even a death of the cross, surrendering his soul for us (no greater love has any human!), shedding his innocent blood (the soul of the body is in the blood) as a protective covering/shielding (ιλαστηριον) around our misdeeds, descending into the Unseen after getting his body of flesh stripped-off (απεκδυ-) in the “circumcision” (περιτομ-) of the cross, offering up (αναφερ-) that body as an offering (προσφορ-) to God, becoming a sin-offering (αμαρτια—LXX) for us, thus making a cleansing (καταιρ-) of misdeeds (αμαρτια), taking misdeeds from around (περιαιρ-) us, and, being vivified in spirit (πνευμα)—remembering that the soul is spirit even as the body is flesh—he heralded the Proclamation to the dead, whose spirits were in jail (the stubborn of Noah’s day), so that they too could live in spirit, according to God.  God God did not forsake his soul in the Unseen, yet raised him from among the dead in a glorified body and highly exalted him with agelong life as a just award (δικαιωμα) for his obedient suffering-of-abuse, favoring (χαρις-) him with a name above every name, and giving him the present (δωρεα) of God’s righteousness (δικαιοσυνη), namely, the gracious grant (χαριςμα) of His Wholesome Spirit to give to all who trust his Proclamation and thus obey (υπακου-) him, having their hearts cleansed (καταιρ-) by Messiah’s blood, that spoke better than the (less) innocent blood of Abel, and thus was avenged (εκδικ-) by God almost immediately via resurrection to indissoluble (ακαταλυ-) life.

By laying his soul over us, Jesus made possible the salvation (-σω-) of our souls, if we trust him, we being entombed-together with him in immersion, in whom we were roused-together also.

By the stripping-off of his circumcised Jewish body at the Cross, the very Mosaic decreed (δογμα-) of circumcision, etc., were nailed to the Cross, thus stripping off the sovereignties and authorities among the Jews that had enforced them.  In this way the Messiah made an example of them and triumphed over them by the Cross because of the Resurrection from its result.

For us, then, who walk by faith, the old humanity gets stripped off, together with its practices, and the young humanity gets put on, which is getting renewed (ανακαιν-) into recognition to accord with the image of the One Who creates it in Messiah Jesus.  [12/13/04]

In seeking first God’s Kingdom and righteousness, in both praying for His desire to take place and actually doing it as well, we are to expect to suffer abuse.  Jesus taught us this.  If we love Him that much, i.e., enough to practice his directives come what may, then the culture will hate us as it hated him.  They will oppress us and chase us out of their establishment (whether businesses, legislatures, radio and TV studios, schools, universities, graduate programs, parties, or even churches!).  This does not mean that God desires us to suffer abuse or takes the least pleasure in seeing us hurt, any more than He was pleased at beholding the crucifixion of His only-born!  But He does take pride and pleasure In us when we thus prove that we are willing to endure the world’s viciousness rather than back down from our loyalty to Him and His commands.  We thus prove ourselves His true sons, and become mature in trust, preparing ourselves for our glorification—full accreditation!

We should therefore not seek suffering for its own sake.  That has little or no value.  Such an inclination is ill-informed about God’s Kingdom and may even be pathological.  Our willingness to suffer abuse from others is simply an expected by-product of having deferred our pleasures until that age when we can never be deprived of them and when all our truest pleasures as renewed human beings can finally come to light without diminution or accompanying sorrows.

For this to come true in our eventual experience, we must have a sure and certain expectation grounded in the life, abuse, death, resurrection, and glorification of the New Head of the human race—Messiah Jesus, our Master!  He is our Guiding Star, our Forerunner! He has demonstrated our future if we hang on tight to him and don’t fall off!  Nothing can peel us off, so what excuse can we have for letting go…ever?!  [1/18/05]

You are faced with a choice:  either your sins get erased by your faith in Messiah Jesus and the application of his blood to your sinful heart, or your name gets erased from his Book of Life and you die in your sins, only to get destroyed for ages to come.  Are there any questions?  (cf. Acts 3:19 with Revelation 3:5)  [2/8/05]

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The BLOOD of the New Covenant simultaneously brings RIGHTEOUSNESS and HOLINESS–both instantaneously and progressively, by FAITH

For thus says Jehovah, ‘There shall not be cut off a man of David’s line from sitting on the throne of the house of Israel.  As for the Levitical priests there shall not be cut off a man from before Me who offers up the ascent approach and fumes the approach present and offers sacrifices for all the days.”  (Jeremiah 33:17-18)

Now that Messiah has arrived in the person of Jesus, many Old Testament prophecies are changed in meaning, actually transformed before our eyes to reveal their true substance and new-covenant import!

Jeremiah 33:18, for instance, now reveals God’s intention (although it was implicit in the provisions and promises of the first covenant, “which covenant [Israel] brokeDeuteronomy 31:20, Jeremiah 11:9-10, 31:31-33, Hebrews 8:8-10) for all His people, in light of Jeremiah 33:17, the immediately preceding verse, when the Wholesome Spirit opens our eyes to see Jesus in it!

Thus occurs a “transvaluation” of prophecies that an unbelieving, stubborn people—“Israel according to the flesh”—could never apprehend.

O Father, continue to open our heavy eyes to see Jesus so that then we might also behold our true destiny before Your face!  Hallelujah!  [11/26/04]

The notion of “progressive sanctification” is a residue of the penal substitution theory of the atonement that does not understand the blood of Jesus as actually, truly cleansing our hearts/consciences from misdeeds (though, to be sure, it is not the literal blood that is applied to our hearts/consciences to effect this result but the agelong life of the innocent soul of Jesus (that is “in the blood), the Lamb of God—it is this life, poured out from heaven into our believing hearts via the Wholesome Spirit, the promise of the Father in the New Covenant in Messiah’s innocent blood, that is the active ingredient which cleanses from misdeeds and dead works; see Acts 10:15-16, 44-47; 11:9-10, 15-17; 15:8-9; Hebrews 9:13-14, 22-26; 10:2-4, 19-22.   (See also the works of P. P. Waldenström.)

In the penal substitution theory, the blood was presented to God to pacify or appease or placate or “satisfy” His wrath against sin so that He could “forensically” justify the sinner who believes.  But the sinner is then understood to be a sinner still, except that, having been justified “in the blood instantly upon faith in Christ because of what he accomplished “at/on the cross” (i.e., his death on our behalf), the sinner is understood to be “sanctified” by a process throughout life thereafter.  Thus passages like Hebrews 10:14 are thought to be teaching a lifelongbeing sanctified” rather than our “getting wholesome” instantaneously by our Chief Priest’s “one approachpresent” by which he “has perfected to the finality” those who are, one by one (an historical procession!) getting wholesome by this priestly ministration.

The penal substitution model of the “atonement” as taught by the Protestant Reformers, made justification personally instantaneous but sanctification personally progressive.  But Scripture, to the contrary, teaches that both justification (in Romans) and sanctification (in Hebrews) are personally instantaneous upon faith, as witnessed by the receipt (“signed and paid for” by Christ himself in his own blood!) of the Wholesome Spirit “with signs and miracles following.”  This was the empirical proof to Peter (cf. Acts 10-11 and 15:8-9) of the nations having received both of these boons in one fell swoop, all at once.  We don’t get more and more wholesome before God any more than we get more and more upright.  We simply walk enduringly in the faith that keeps us in that state of rectitude and wholesomeness and forgiveness.  To be sure, our faith should ever grow and get more firmly rooted and established against all opposition.  But it is rooted exactly in the instantaneously and gratuitously given realities of righteousness and wholesomeness.

Both of these realities are founded alike in the blood of Jesus (i.e., his innocent soul given up to a public, violent, unjust death and raised from the dead by the justice of God to agelong life thus justifying God in giving us His promised Spirit for free).  This is why both the New Testament and the early church teach that we are repeatedly to “eat the flesh” and “drink the blood” of the Lamb of God (the Passover) in the Lord’s Dinner.  For in this way we enjoy its agelong benefits continuously in this life, i.e., righteousness and wholesomeness.  [11/30/04]

The penal substitution theory of the Protestant Reformers, ironically, retained the substance of the Roman Catholic (Augustinian) notion of progressive justification (which is equally false) under the rubric of “progressive sanctification.”  However, it is not a necessary ingredient to a full and entire comprehension of justification (a judicial metaphor) and sanctification (a priestly metaphor).

Having said that, it is still necessary to affirm that throughout our current earthly sojourn through this present vicious age of the world “with devils filled,” as we are remaining in Messiah’s explanations and declarations, keeping his directions, walking in the light of truth, we are participating or communing with the Father and the Son by Their Spirit, according to the distinctive promise of the Father in the New Covenant in the blood of His only-born Son, and thus partake of the divine nature, including righteousness and wholesomeness, in an increasing way as we stay in trust.  We are to become full of Spirit, letting Messiah’s Explanation dwell in us richly, completing wholesomeness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1) until love casts out fear when it has become perfect, so that our joy becomes full, etc., etc.

These are all progressive, to be sure,  But they are the fruit of a rectitude in the eyes of God that is imputed to us instantaneously and continuously as we keep trusting Jesus, and only so long as we endure in that faith, steady, rooted, grounded, founded, stable, steadfast.

However, no less is this true of wholesomeness.  For all the fruit of God’s Spirit of wholesomeness grows naturally (“if the firstfruit is wholesome, the kneading is also; and if the root is wholesome, the boughs are alsoRomans 11:16) in those who are called wholesome by a faith that causes the blood of the Wholesome One to get applied to their hearts, thus cleansing away their misdoings.

In both of these procedures, God wants to glorify our simple trust or faith in Him as manifested in doing what the Messiah, His Son, directed us.  And the reason is eminently plain:  keeping his directions (εντολ-) leads us, in the power of his Spirit of wholesomeness, along the path to maturity (-τελει-) of wholesomeness for agelong life.  The root, if we stay put, produces the fruit of uprightness and wholesomeness—the whole spectrum of virtues listed by Paul (Galatians 5:22-23), James (James 3:13, 17-18), and Peter (2 Peter 1:50-8).  Not surprisingly, each list explains them in terms of “fruit.”  Do we get it?  [12/1/04]

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The WRONGFUL bloodshed of Christ, RIGHTLY overcompensated by the sending of life-giving Spirit, enables us to conquer WRONG

To compensate someone we injure at more than the cost of their loss is redemptive.  It is redemptive for them, and it is redemptive for us.  God has both stipulated this in Moses, and demonstrated it in Jesus.  What the Law and the Prophets demanded, the Proclamation of the Kingdom delivered—and how!  This must, then, become the practice, the habit, the reflex of the citizens of God’s Kingdom.  [10/1/04]

STATIC OR CURRENT?

The Pentecostal and even the Charismatic movements have all too often regarded the Wholesome Spirit of God as a form of static electricity—good for the occasional zap, but nothing you can get much work out of.  Yet the impression we get from the New Testament after Pentecost, and on into early Christian history, is that this promised Gift of the Father in the New Covenant by Messiah’s blood is more like current electricity.  Those of us who by faith in the Proclamation of God’s Kingdom get cleansed from our sins by the blood of Jesus that speaks better than the blood of Abel, by virtue of its greater innocence, become conductors of God’s wholesome power that then energizes us for good work!   We should consequently depend on this steady flow of power to energize those actions and activities that we know are pleasing to God because they are in accordance with Messiah’s directives.  [10/9/04]

Apart from the pouring out of blood there is no pardon of sins, because without the unjust pouring out of perfectly innocent blood (loss of life/soul) there would have been no pouring out of God’s Wholesome Spirit to compensate (in fact, according to the norm of Divine justice, overcompensate) for that incalculable loss.  For it is precisely the superabundant Gift of God’s graciousness via His Spirit of wholesomeness that releases us from our past sins and regeneratesus with the uncreated life of God to resist our corruption, decay, death, and, consequently, the lust, covetousness, and craving that impel us, by temptation, to further sins.

Thus the outpouring of Messiah’s blood and the outpouring of God’s Spirit are correlates—linked events.

The mechanism whereby God’s pledge to act in terms of a covenant is secured through “cutting” the covenant victim in pieces, amounts to nothing less than His justice in avenging the pouring out of innocent blood (life/soul).  In other words, the covenanted promises of God to give (agelong) live and all other (lesser) blessings of the covenant, are in fact realized by way of overcompensation for the very brutal and wrongful death of the covenant victim that is thereby sacrificed.  Its being offered in sacrifice “unto God” is a ritual act done in recognition of, and before the face of, the Creator/Redeemer who both gave creaturely life and alone can restore life superabundantly.  The “mechanism,” so to speak, amounts to God’s character of rectitude itself!  [10/25/04]

Therefore, in the case of Jesus, we can actually observe how “God’s righteousness = The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  [10/28/04]

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The cost of our ransom was paid for us to assimilate, in exchange for the viciousness shown to Christ

Under the Old Covenant of  Moses, all Israel had to eat the lamb during Passover.  Should it, then, have seemed so strange to the Jews of Jesus’ day for him to have declared, “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood or you have no life in you” (to paraphrase John 6:53)?  John the Baptist had already announced, “Look!  The Lamb of God which is taking away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).  And by what mechanism, if you please, were sins taken away?  Why, by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Lamb of God, for that is agelong life!

That price which he paid, that cost of our liberation from sin, that ransom, we must ingest and let it become an intrinsic, inextricable element of our own body and bloodWe are the ones to whom the Son of Mankind paid his ransom price!  The precious blood of Jesus belongs rightfully to us who trust him!  The Father doesn’t need it.  The Devil doesn’t want it.  The Law doesn’t claim it.  It’s ours, with all its life-making nourishment!  We’re alive!!!

The entry of the body and blood of Jesus into our body and blood cleanses us by reversing the necrotic deterioration of our existence toward death.  Of course, as Jesus clarified, “the flesh benefits nothing,” literally.  Rather, his “declarations are Spirit and are life,” so as we hear and believe and obey all his explanations, promises, and directives, his Spirit is given more room within us to find housing and bear fruit.

Thus our participation in the Master’s Dinner should always be associated with feeding on his Explanations.  At the very same service we should be practicing our analyzing and memorizing and reciting of Jesus’ teaching among ourselves.  Then we should digest this feast by meditating on this nourishment.  Later, we should gather and discuss what the Wholesome Spirit is teaching us through it.  Then we should arrange to proclaim and teach what we have learned to all nations, including our own.  And, moreover, we should develop plans and programs and methods and institutions to implement God’s desire in every sphere of activity on earth, bringing his Kingdom with power!  [5/14/04]

In overcompensating Jesus for the sacrifice of his body of flesh on our behalf, the Father gave him back a much larger body than he gave up.  And that’s what we eat in communion…and that’s what we become as a consequence—his new body (!), with his resurrection-life-giving blood coursing through us, cleansing, nourishing and energizing us to do even greater acts than Jesus, who returned to the Father.  [5/21/04]

It is well worth contemplating that God’s superabundant graciousness is the divinely demanded rightful overcompensation for the viciousness perpetrated against the whole human race by Satan, the great Alien, but especially against the perfectly innocent and sinless Son of God.  Graciousness in exchange for viciousness.  Worth pondering.  [5/31/04]

The shedding of Jesus’ innocent blood justified God in avenging him immediately…not by destroying his executioners—the perpetrators—but by actually reversing the sentence and then proclaiming a pardon instead to all who criminally executed him!  What graciousness!  [9/15/04]

All who put themselves voluntarily under Messiah’s authority by faith benefit from the spoils of his victory over Satan!  For he won the right/authority and sovereignty, to give anything which is (consequently!) his to all who are his because they trust him and believe this testimony that God gave about His Son.  Thereby we, too, get adopted as sons to inherit an allotment in his Kingdom so that we live and reign together with him as priests to God!  [9/29/04]

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