PRAYERS

Welcome to this site. My prayer is that you take a look at the site and as you do, let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and reveal what God wants you to discover. (in Jesus' name)

God tells us that if we see a brother (or sister) in need we should do that which is within our means to help. Prayer is always within our means but we never know what doors Father may open through them. Should you desire prayer for anything (healing, direction, etc.) or if you want supportive prayer along with your own please feel free to e-mail that request to sharbu3@gmail.com and be assured that there are others who will be praying with or for you.


In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

At the end of each post are the options to share, forward or make a comment. Click 'comment' to respond. Let us know if you like, don't like or are helped by what you read. Comments can be made or read by anyone. All you have to do is select the "comment" at he end of the entry.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

 

4-27-2021 Hidden Things

                  What is behind curtain #3?

Does man know all there is to know about God?

Two passages will provide a quick answer to this question.

Deuteronomy 29:29

The secrets belong to the Lord, our God, but there are things that are revealed to us and our children, forever, so that we may do the words of His law.

John 21:25

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if every one should be written down, I suppose the world, itself, could not contain the books in which they would be written.

So we see that there are things God has not revealed to us or has not been passed down through the ages for our knowledge.

However, we know that we can rely on God. His work is perfect, His ways are judgment, He is truth, just and right and has no wickedness in Him (Deut. 32:4).

We know that Jesus is Emmanuel, that is God is with us (Matt. 1:23), manifested in our presence!  He is God, come into this world, in the flesh (John 1:1)!  We know that Jesus spoke those things which Father commanded Him to speak (John 12:49) and there are some things only the Father knows like exactly when the end times are (Matt. 24:36).

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away with (1 Corinth. 13:9-10).  We do things in part because we don’t know the “whole” story yetl 

So when is the perfect come?  Nothing qualifies since the time Jesus ascended back into heaven, after the resurrection, until the time He returns to call us to be with Him forever.  And He will come back for us (John 14:1-4).

But in the meantime we’re not left hanging in the dark either.

John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.  For He won’t speak from His own knowledge, but from what He hears (from Father) He will speak and He will show you things to come. 

So when has the Spirit of Truth come?  Just before Jesus ascended back unto the Father He told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem a while yet and wait for the promise of the Holy Ghost.  He also tells them that when they receive the Holy Ghost power shall come upon them and they shall be witnesses for Him … unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:4-8).  The Holy Ghost came to the disciples in the upper room (Acts 2:1-18).  Since then, He has been available for us to receive.

John 12:44-49

Jesus spoke so all could hear Him, ”He who believes on Me doesn’t believe on Me but on Him who sent Me.  And He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.

I am come as a light in the world that who believes on Me should not abide in darkness.

If any man hears My words and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him for I haven’t come to judge the world but to save the world.

He who rejects Me and doesn’t receive My words has one that does judge him.  The Word I have spoken is the one who will judge him on the last day.  (Remember John 1:1)

For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father Himself has given Me a commandment as to what I should say and what I should speak.

And I know His commandment is life everlasting, so I speak as the Father has said to Me.”  (remember, Jesus IS the WORD of God.)

Today, we have the written bible which gives us all that we need to know (with plenty of examples) how to enter into God’s kingdom and be with Father through Jesus forever. 

As Christians, we have the Holy Ghosts abiding in us to help us understand those things which seem be beyond our understanding.  Yet, as John implies, there may be things which Jesus told the early disciples that may be revealed to us, even now, that have not yet been written down. 

So, how do we know what’s from God?  Anything revealed to us by the Holy Ghost WILL be consistent with God’s love.  Of course, then, we will have to understand God’s love (lol). 

The bible describes God’s love for us and the Holy Ghost will teach us and help us to improve on  that understanding, to love Father (through Jesus) so we can know His love for ourselves and then how to love others.  Should we hear something that we can’t qualify through the scriptures or that which the Holy Spirit does not confirm within our heart (as it agrees in love), needs to be set aside until it can be proven (or disproven).

Remember, Satan was once an angel of light (that is Lucifer) so he can look pretty good sometimes, presenting himself as something he is not.  Think about the temptations of Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11) and the maiden who hassled the apostle Paul (Acts 16:16-18).  Satan spoke half-truths to Jesus and the damsel actually spoke the truth about Paul but in a taunting way (If you believe what I say. Yeah! Right! lol).  Jesus responded to Satan with the whole truth and Paul, tiring of the hassle, cast the spirit of divination out of the damsel.

So, does Father still not reveal everything to us, even today?  He will give us what we can handle.  Because they used it so much in promotions of the movie, I’m reminded a line Jack Nicholson spoke in the movie ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ – “The truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”  Can we truly handle the truth, or do we just ‘think’ we can?  We’re nosy and we want to know everything, but Father knows us and will not put more on us (good or bad) than we can handle (1 Corinth. 10:13). 

God has given us what we need to know and when we need to know it, so that we may enter into His kingdom and while we live this life, live it well.  I suspect that He doesn’t want us to get too bogged down with information.  I also suspect He doesn’t want us to become  more concerned about what others may or may not know versus what He is teaching us.  He wants us to know what He wants us to know and not worry about anything else.  So, He has kept it short, sweet and simple until we can handle more.  He prefers that we focus not on learning more about Him but on our relationship with Him.  The devil knows all about Father.  He was created before we were.  He just rejects what he knows.  He thinks he’s better than God (Ezek. 28:14-19).  Of course, in order to grow, to walk with Father, we do have to learn and experience His ways.

now, as we grow in the Lord, He will and does show us more.  He gives us a deeper understanding of what He has already shared.  Ever read a scripture, say fifty times (over a period of time) and on 50th time say to yourself “Wow!  I never saw that before!”? 

It’s like a simple phrase “Jack went to the store.”  Though the statement doesn’t reveal, outright, everything that may be true about Jack going to the store.  As we grow in the Lord, the Holy Ghost reveals the depth of the passage.  Just how did Jack get to the store (by foot, bicycle, car), how quickly did Jack get to the store, why did he go to the store for …  Get the picture?

We don’t know everything now, but we do have God-given tools to help us with our understanding.  As we grow in our walk with the Lord, so does our understanding.  And understand, the depth of our knowledge will be consistent with the depth of our calling.  Some people will know more than others because they need he knowledge to do the work Father has set before them.  Greater responsibility requires greater knowledge.

Has God hidden some things from us?  Of course, but I am persuaded that as we grow in His love, He will reveal more and more to us.  WE just keep growing in God’s love then seeking and asking that He reveal those ‘hidden things’.  Then receive them and relish them when they do come.

Amen

Saturday, April 24, 2021

 

4-24-2021 Angels Watching Over Us (Part 2)

The second sphere consists of dominions (lordships), virtues (strongholds) and powers (authorities) which deals with matter (that is creation) and ruling spirits.  If you will – the heavenlies.  Note again in Daniel, the “Prince of Persia” resisted the angel bringing the answer to Daniel’s prayer.  Gabriel freed that angel from battle so he could complete his task.  Note that the angel identifies Michael as a “chief angel”.  Implication?  This was a spiritual battle and contains levels of responsibility.

Dominions

Four words are translated as ‘dominion’ in the New Testament:  katakurieuo (2634)  which is to exercise dominion or lordship or overcome (I’ve conquered you therefore I have control over you); kratos (2904) which is to have dominion, power or strength (See my muscles? I’m bigger and stronger than you); kurieu (2961) have dominion or lord over, or exercise authoritative control over you (I have a higher position than you so I dominate you); and kuriotes  (2963) which is a ruler as in government (as in president of the US).

These are Angels of Leadership. They regulate the duties of other angels, making known the commands of God.  But the Strong’s definition would also imply influence over the governments of man.  Thinking Daniel again, the ‘Prince of Persia’ didn’t physically rule Persia but apparently controlled those people who did.

Jesus spoke to the disciples how man exercises authority by bringing others under submission but the disciples should exercise authority by serving those over whom they have responsibility, leading by example (Matt. 20:25-27, John 13:1-17).  Paul cautions the Romans (or us) not to let sin (spiritual wickedness) have dominion over them because they are now under grace, living for Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:8-18).  Where our treasure is, that’s where our heart will be.  Whom do we love?  We can’t serve two masters (Matt. 6:19-24), two masters cannot have dominion over us at the same time, so we give dominion over to Jesus (Rom. 6:16-19).  If not Jesus, then to whom?  We have free will to make a decision, but just who influences that decision?  As angels carry out God’s commands, Jesus explains in the parable of the tares in the field, there is also a counter force in operation in our midst (Matt. 13:24-30, 13:36-43).

Virtues (Authorities)

Two Greek words are used as virtues: arĂȘte (703) which is translated as praise, virtue or excellence and is akin to manliness (true); and dunamis (1411) which is ability, power (explosive power), strength or miraculous work.

Virtues are known as the ‘spirits of motion’ and control the elements. They are sometimes referred to as "the shining ones." They govern all nature. They have control over seasons, stars, moon; even the sun is subject to their command.  Now, when I say control, they are the ones who implement God’s will over all these things.  They are also in charge of miracles and provide courage, grace, and valor, as Father directs.  And no, I’m not bypassing the Holy Ghost, the breath of God.  In the beginning there were no angels to command so God created (even angels) by speaking, as His breath put things into action.  Once He created angels, they, then carried His commands into action.  Not replacing the Holy Ghost but as Father spoke, they carried His words into action. 

When the multitude sought to be healed by Jesus, virtue (power) went out from Him and healed them all (Luke 6:19) remember the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34).  Because we know Jesus, He has called us to glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3).  That means to follow Him and His example!  Paul followed Jesus and encourages us to do the same as he did, to be like our Lord (1 Corinth. 11:1).  Being ‘like’ Jesus is understanding His will and abiding in His power and His love.  If we truly love Him, we keep His commandments (John 14:15).

So, virtues help us to walk in the excellence of Jesus Christ.  Now, don’t get me wrong here, angels don’t replace the Holy Ghost.  Angels don’t abide “in” us so whatever encouragement they bring is external whereas the Holy Ghost operates within us, thus guiding our hearts to make choices.  As children of God, we don’t have to wait for an angel to show up.  The Holy Ghost is already in us!  Yet angels are there to help as needed.

Powers

The two Greek words are translated as powers are dunamis (1411) which again is ability, power (explosive), strength or miraculous work and then, exousia (1849) which is having jurisdiction, liberty, power, right or strength.  One is active, one is passive.  One exercises the power and the other is having the authority to exercise that power.  And notice the potential (in scripture) to interchange ‘virtue’ and ‘power’.  Jesus had the authority and the ability to heal the woman at the well.

Powers are Warrior Angels against evil, defending the spiritual realm and humans. They are known as potentates. They fight against evil spirits who attempt to wreak chaos through or upon human beings.  I again refer to Daniel chapter ten.

These angels reflect some of the characteristics of God as they perform their responsibilities.  They obey and serve Father, not because they ‘have to’, but because they ‘desire to’ and they serve Him with all their God-given talents, that is abilities. (hint, hint, what about us?) 

It would seem that they encourage us to do the works of God because we also, desire to serve Father.  The ruler of any nation should be influenced by the “powers”.  And again, influencing powers could be angelic or demonic (to which power do we listen?).

We see that there are powers are in the heavens for when tribulation comes, they shall be shaken (Mark 13:14-25).  Father intends for us to know the powers and principalities we face (Eph. 3:9-12) and face them boldly.  For when God is with us who can be against us (Rom. 8:31).  Father created all things through Jesus (Col. 1:12-17).  We should receive all help from God but reject those influences from the evil one.

This sphere might be called “God’s governors”.

Third on our list, but actually The first sphere, are the angels closest to Father, which includes Seraphim who continually glorify and praise God, Cherubim who protect God’s throne and then Thrones who serve God’s justice and authority. 

Think about it.  When we enter into God’s presence (spiritually, we enter His throne room) and can’t help but praise Him. Have any of us been praying and suddenly find ourselves in our God-given spiritual language?  We enter His presence and we are under His protection.  And when we enter His presence we are willing subjects to His justice and authority which are administered (to us), but only for our benefit. Whatever Father does, is always for our benefit (Rom. 8:28). 

These angels help us to deal with our heart, our relationship with our heavenly Father.    

Seraphim

Only one Hebrew word is used for seraphim.  Saraph (8314) fiery (serpent) or seraph.  They apparently appear as fire, though it is suggested that their color is more like a brilliant copper. 

Interestingly seraphim are only mentioned in the Old Testament by name and described once in the book of Revelation.  In the book of Isaiah, the seraphim were above God’s throne and cry to each other “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.  The whole earth is full of His glory.”  They are described as having six wings, two to cover their face, two covering their feet and two with which to fly.  Isaiah declared himself a man with unclean lips so it was seraphim which took a coal from the altar and purged Isaiah’s lips (Isaiah 4:1-7).  The seraphim are not named in the book of Revelation, but rather described as they cry out “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty which was and is and is to come,” giving glory and praise to Him who sits upon the throne.    John says that, along with the wings, they are like four beasts - a lion, a calf, the face as a man and a flying eagle, and full of eyes (Rev. 6:6-9).    

Seraphim are around the throne of God praising and magnifying Him.  When we want to praise and glorify God, it is most likely the seraphim encouraging us.  After all, when we don’t know how to pray, father helps us through the Holy Ghost abiding in our heart (Rom. 8:26-27) and it is He Who reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Corinth. 2:9-12).  But, again, too much of the world does not have the Holy Ghost within.  Even some Christians won’t allow the Holy Ghost full operation in their lives (another discussion).  So Father still has angels in the ready so we don’t dash our feet against a stone (Psalm 91:11-12, Matt. 4:6).

Cherubim

Again, except for Hebrews chapter nine, cherub or cherubim are only mentioned in the Old  Testament and oddly enough, a unique exception used once in Ezra and once in Nehemiah, the same word is translated as either singular, or plural, one or a group.  Otherwise there is no difference in how the term is used.  Interestingly the word used only twice is keruwb (3742) which means cherub, but it is also translated ‘imaginary figure. And note the word Keruwb (3743), spelled with a capital ‘K’, otherwise, they are the same word, same meaning.  Why Ezra and Nehemiah use the capital ‘K’?  I don’t know.  Maybe a bible scholar can help us out.

Cherubim rank after the seraphim and are the second highest in the hierarchies of choirs of angels. The Old Testament does not reveal any evidence that the Jews considered them as intercessors or helpers from God but they were closely linked in God's glory. They are manlike in appearance and double-winged (one set of two wings) and are guardians of God's glory. They symbolize then, God's power and mobility. In the New Testament, they are alluded to as celestial attendants as in the Apocalypse (Rev. 4:6).  And an image of two cherubim was placed on the top of the Ark of the Covenant with their wings touching as they stretch out over the mercy seat (Exod. 25:10-22).  Roman Catholic tradition describes them as angels who have an intimate knowledge of God and continually praise Him (like the Seraphim).  Also, after Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden in Eden, Father set cherubim and a flaming sword (hmmm, a seraphim?) to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24) so that Adam and Eve could no longer partake of the tree of life and live forever in a state of sin.  Thank you Jesus for your cleansing blood!

Thrones

In respect to angels, two words are used for thrones in the Old Testament and one in the New.

In the Hebrew, kicce (3678) means covered or canopied, seat, stool or throne yet its root word kacah (3780) implies to hide for secrecy, cover, conceal or overwhelm.  The other Hebrew word used is korce (3764), derived from kicce and is translated only as throne. 

The Greek word thronos (2362) is a seat, stately seat or throne.

Three words imply the obvious – a throne or seat of authority yet kacah implies an aura of overwhelming mystery.

Thrones are the Angels of pure humility, peace and submission. They reside in the area of the heavens where material form begins to take shape. The lower Choirs of Angels need the Thrones to access God (tradition). 

Why has God formed people the way He has (Rom. 9:20)?  Father reveals some things to us and other things He holds back that we might obey all that He has said (Deut. 29:29).  The obvious and the mystery.  The revealed.  The hidden.

Who can give council to God (Isa: 40:13, Rom. 11:34), but for us, we might call this sphere “God’s counsellors”.  Not that they council God but they are responsible to forward ‘God’s council to us (remember Daniel chapt. 10).  And keep in mind, they do not replace the Holy Ghost but are available when people can’t or won’t listen to the Holy Spirit.

In summary

So, as we see the first sphere, the seraphim, cherubim and thrones are closest to God’s throne in responsibility (and literally).  The area that deals with man’s heart.  The second sphere, the dominions, virtues and powers get a little closer to (our) home dealing with the realm between God’s throne and earth, the atmosphere around us.  While the third sphere, principalities, archangels and angels, deals more directly with us, the natural man.  Consider the three final temptations Jesus faced when in the wilderness: turn the rock to bread, jump off – the angels will catch You and I’ll give You all this, just bow down and worship me (says Satan) (Matt. 4:11)

Take note that each sphere deals with man’s three battlefronts (body, soul, spirit (heart)), but each choir within each sphere also has an area of responsibility. 

We’ve just done a cursory look at this but think about it.  Not only does each sphere deal with a segment of man’s battlefield, but each of the three choirs within each sphere also deals with a phase of battle.  Again, Seraphim, Cherubim and thrones influence man’s heart; Dominions, Virtues and Powers carry responsibility over man’s soul or spirituality; and Principalities, Archangels and angels have a responsibility over man’ existence.  There is a link between man and God through each sphere and through the choirs in each sphere.

A side item Father showed me (no extra charge) is how He has established the church in a similar fashion.  He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists some pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints (heart), the work of the ministry (soul) and edifying the body (us) of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12).  The evangelist opens the door so the natural man can enter into the body of Christ, the pastor and teacher help us with an understanding of our spirituality (soul, how we live in Christ) and apostles and prophets help us to expand and connect our heart (relationship) with our heavenly Father.     

Don’t be fooled.  Since God has established an hierarchy for His angels, Satan (a fallen angel) would most likely have done the same as he came from the same background.  Satan was once Lucifer who was an angel of light (Luke 10:18).  He decided to rebel.  So we must fight the enemy (Satan and his devils) in three areas of our lives and Father has provided us angelic help in each of those areas.  Paul tells us that we don’t wrestle against other people but rather the spiritual forces that motivate them (Eph. 6:10-13).  So, Jesus tells us to pray for our fleshly enemies (Matt. 5:24) for Father would that none should perish but all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  However, not all will receive, but those who hear and heed Father’s call will enter in (Matt. 7:13-14).  Those who refuse the Lord into their lives are but mere pawns for the enemy, whether they admit it or not!

Father has also given us the “natural help” (other people) in this world which reflects the spiritual help He gives us so we don’t fight alone, we have help.  That’s why when the body of Christ is unified (1 Corinth. 12:1-27), we have brothers and sisters who will stand with us contending with the enemy (Eph. 6:18, James, 2:15-18).

One last note:  Think of our spiritual warfare as being like an army going into battle.  As a soldier, we’re handed a rifle (or a firearm of some sort), ammunition, grenades, etc.  We have our weapons of warfare and we’re ready to go into battle.  We are prepared to fight, right?  But we also have artillery, from both land and sea, supporting us and if that isn’t enough, we have air support through various aircraft.  Think, angelic support in the natural, the spiritual and the heart of man???  No, it’s not an exact correlation, but hopefully it does help us to understand (a little) how God deals with us.  Yes?

OK, one more note:  The Holy Ghost abides within our heart and will guide and direct us in what we say and do.  All we have to do is listen and obey.  However, there are times we need an ‘external’ nudge or help and that’s why angels are watching over us, ready to go into action in times when we may not hear or be listening to the Holy Ghost. 

My prayer is that this stimulates your interest to know that angels do interact with us and for us in many ways.  I’m not equipped to go any farther with this, but, by the grace of God, it will stimulate some of us do a little thinking – and maybe do our own research.

So, are angels watching over us?  Hmmmm. Do you think?

Amen!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

 

4-10-2021 Angels Watching Over Us (Part 1)

                

Does Father actually have angels watching over us?  Do you believe in guardian angels? 

The bible tells us about two specific angels.  Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God and is sent to speak to us (Luke 1:19), and Michael.  In Revelation, Michael fought with the dragon (Rev. 12:7-9) and against the ‘prince of the kingdom of Persia’ (a demonic spirit in this world, Dan. 10:8-14).

Angels minister to the heirs of salvation (us) (Heb. 1:13-14).

They are given charge over us to keep us in all our ways (Psalm 91:11).

They are our fellow servants in Christ Jesus and should not be worshipped (Rev. 18:1, 19:9-10).

Father can send legions to protect us as with Elisha and his servant (2 Kings 6:15-18).  Jesus told His disciples that Father would send twelve legions of angels to save Him, all He had to do was ask (Matt. 26:52:53).

God told Moses that He would send an angel before them (Israel) to guide and keep them as they travel as they journeyed to the place Father had prepared for them (Exod. 23:20-22).

Angels sit in the presence of God and worship Him (Rev. 4:1-11). 

They are God’s Messengers, as with Mary with the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).

Angels of God are for our protection (Psalm 91:1-16).   What they do for Jesus, they also do for us (Luke 10:18-20).

They minister God’s judgment (Rev. 9:12-21).  Remember Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:1-26)?

And they are God’s warriors (2 Kings 6:15-17).

Obviously there are more angels than the two named.  Father has also set angels to help us with the three areas or (spheres) of spiritual warfare to provide help and protection for His children.  Each sphere is responsible for a realm and has three sections, or choirs, of responsibility.

What we ‘know’ about angels is derived primarily from studies by the church scholars such as Origen (184 AD – 254 AD), and Catholic tradition.  Origen suggested that there are three choirs, (sub-groups) of angels set to each of the three spheres (primary groups) set to do battle on our behalf in the natural, the spiritual and for our heart. 

But just what are some of the things these angels do?  (reread the opening lines)

For a basic understanding of their responsibilities, we will look at the three spheres starting with what we understand the best – us, the natural man.  Then we’ll move through the second sphere (our spirit) finishing with the first sphere – our heart, our relationship with our Father.

The third sphere of angels deals with the natural man.   Three choirs, in this sphere, are responsible for what goes on in this natural world around us and these choirs are: Principalities, Archangels and Angels.

Principalities

The Greek word for “principality” is arche (746).  Strong’s defines them as chief of order, time place or rank, the beginning, the corner, magistrate, power or rule. 

We find references in Ephesians 1:20-23 where Jesus is given power over all things and is the head of the church.  And we see we are complete in Christ who is the head of all principality and power (Col. 2:9-10).  Oooh! You mean Jesus is above all the angels?

In the New Testament, Principalities refer to one type of spiritual beings which rule over specific areas pertaining to this earthly realm.  Remember, demons are fallen angels, so it is logical that they, too, would have specific areas of responsibility and of course demons would be quite hostile to God and human beings.  This is exampled in Daniel Chapter ten where the angel had to contend with the “Prince of Persia” (a demonic influence) to bring Daniel the answer to his prayer.  Yet, Christ rules over everything, giving us salvation through His conquering sin and death, shedding His blood, the cross, and giving the church access to this knowledge (Rom. 8:38; 1 Cor. 15:24;  Eph. 1:20-22; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:12-18; 2:10, 15).  Understanding this should help when we read that we don’t wrestle against other people, but against the spiritual forces that motivate them (Eph. 6:12)

Principalities, if you will, influence the “air” or “atmosphere” around us, here on earth.

Archangels

Jesus will call us home with the voice of an archangel (1 Thess. 4:16 and Michael is referred to as an archangel (in scripture, Jude 9).

The Greek word used here is archaggellos (743) which Strong’s describes as a chief angel.  Note that this word is derived from aggellos (32) which is one who brings tidings or a message or – could be, hold on to your hat, a ‘pastor’ (think about it).  John writes to the angel of the church of Ephesus, of Smyrna, of Pergamos, of Thyatria, of Sardis, of Philadelphia and of Laodicea (Rev. 2:1 – Rev. 3:22).  Why would John write to an angel?  Implication is that angels in this passage represent the pastors of those churches.  Pastors watch over their ‘sheep’ (congregation) by bringing messages and tidings from God.

Now, Gabriel is generally also considered an archangel.  In fact, the book of Tobit (apocrypha from Catholic Church bibles), Eastern Orthodox and some of the “lost” books of the bible suggest that there may be as many as seven archangels. Raphael, Suriel, Zadkiel, Sarathiel, and Aniel along with Michael and Gabriel.  The “El” at the end of each name means “of God” while the rest of their name refers to their ministry.  As an example, Raphael brings God’s healing (Jehova Rapha – Raphael).  I’m not going any further here, but some sources you may read may use some different names for the archangels or cite more or fewer than seven.  Just letting you know. (but I’m hanging in there with Origen citing seven)

Michael and Gabriel are the most familiar Archangels. The Archangels have a unique role as God's messenger to the people at critical times in history.   

The angel Gabriel first appeared in the Old Testament, in the prophesies of Daniel, where he announced the prophecy of 70 weeks (Dan .9:21-27). He appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:11). It was also Gabriel which proclaimed the Annunciation to Mary that she would be the mother of our Lord and Savior (Luke 1:26).  However, let’s not forget Michael fighting the dragon (Rev.12:7-9)?

An implication may be that archangels deal with major events for man.

Angels

Staying with the Greek the words for angel are aggellos (32) and age (33).  To the definition mentioned earlier, age means to “go to”.  So we may say that angels go to whomsoever God sends them.  They are sent ones. (sound like anything else?)

These angels are closest to the material world and human beings. It is believed that they deliver man’s prayers to God and God's answers and other messages back to humans.  You say “Hold on a minute!  We have the Holy Ghost!”  And aren’t we, the children of God in which the Holy Ghost lives?  Yes, but what about those who have never received Jesus? 

Tradition also says that they can access any and all other Angels at any time. They are the most caring and social to assist us, who ask for help.  Consider the two angels who visited Abraham and then Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:1-33, Gen. 19:1-22).  And the answer to Daniels prayer (Dan. 10:1-14).  Understand that, in Daniel, the “prince of Persia” was a spiritual entity (a demonic force) who opposed God.  Note also, in this passage, the angel with Daniel’s answer was not identified, but it was Gabriel who came and relieved this angel of his battle so he (the other angel) could deliver the prayer answer to Daniel.

An angel of the Lord reassured Joseph it was okay to take Mary as his wife (Matt. 1:20-21) and it was an angel of the Lord who freed Peter from prison (Acts 12:6-11).

So, this choir of angels might be called “God’s messengers” as they perform God’s will, interacting with us.

We have two more spheres to deal with and we’ll do that with the blog’s next entry in two weeks.

Amen

Saturday, March 27, 2021

3-27-2021 The Prodigal Son & Today’s Church

                                       I'm my own man now!                            Boy, did I blow it!

Jesus was sharing a series of parables with His disciples when He shared the one of the ‘Prodigal Son’.  Interesting, only Luke (the historian) records this parable.  Interesting, because it does deal with attitudes and repentance reflecting our ability to regain eternal fellowship with our heavenly Father.  Jesus had just shared the parables of the ‘Lost sheep’ and the ‘Lost coin’ when He shared the ‘Prodigal son’, all depicting the joy when something lost is found, when one who is without salvation comes into eternal life.  The prodigal, if you will, brings it home for us.

Luke 15:11-32

11        And He (Jesus) said a certain man had two sons

12        The younger said to his father “Give to me the inheritance which will be mine.”  So the father divided the inheritance between his two sons. 

13        Not many days later, the younger son gathered all that he had and traveled to another country and wasted his money on ‘living the good life’.  (Party city!)

14        After he had spent all his money, a mighty famine rose up in the land and he found himself in need (broke, with nothing, nada).

15        So he hired himself out to a citizen of that country who sent him into the fields to feed the pigs.

16        He would have fainted (gotten sick and/or died) had he not eaten the husks that the pigs ate for no one would give him anything to eat.

17        When he came to his senses, he asked himself “How many of my father’s hired servants have enough bread even to spare and here I am starving?

18        I will get up and go back to my father and say to him “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,

19        I am no longer worthy to be called your son, so take me back (even) as one of your hired servants.”

20        He arose and came to his father.  While he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion so he ran and fell upon his (son’s) neck and kissed him.

21        Then, the son said to him “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight and I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.”

22        But his father said to his servants “Bring forth our best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet.

23        And bring the fatted calf here and kill it and let us eat and be merry

24        For this, my son, was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” And they began to rejoice and be glad.

25        Now, the older son had been in the field and as he drew near the house, he heard the music and the dancing.

26        He called one of the servants and asked “What’s going on?”

27        And the servant replied “Your brother has returned and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has received him (home) safe and sound.”

28        The older brother was angry and would not go in, so his father came out and urged him to join them.

29        But the older son said to his father “All these years I have served you, neither have I ever gone against any of your commandments.  But you never gave me (not even) a kid to make merry with my friends.

30        Yet, as soon as your son returned, (he) who wasted all he had on harlots, you have killed the fatted calf for him!

31        And he (father) said to him “Son, you have always been with me and all that I have is yours

32`       But it is necessary that we rejoice and be glad, for your brother was dead but he is alive again, he was lost and is found.”

Okay.  Take note that dad didn’t refuse to let his younger son to take what he had coming and leave.  God gives us free choice, as well.  We can choose to receive Jesus or reject Him.  We even have the freedom to walk away, even after we have once received our Lord into our lives.  We can take all the good that Father has given us and walk back ‘into the world’, leaving God behind.  Of course this may not be such a good idea for Father tells us it is better to have never experienced His goodness than to have known it and turned away (2 Peter 2:21-22).

This young man thought he knew better and took all he had and ‘blew’ it another country.  We get the picture of wine, women, song ...  Scripture doesn’t spell it out but it definitely leaves us with impression that once his money ran out, so did all his friends for no one would give him anything to eat.  They were all gone, he could buy no more wine or women or friends and he, apparently, had no place to stay.

Oh, how many of us, when we were young, concluded we knew better than mom and dad?  (Oops! Was that my hand going up?)  We feel like we’re going to live forever so live it up now.  Why plan for the future?  Right? 

So he found a man who would give him a place to sleep and food to eat (so to speak).  He tended the man’s pigs.  Now, I’ve never actually been to a pig farm but, driving up route 81 (towards Chambersburg, PA) I have passed one.  Even with car windows rolled up, one can get a ‘whiff’ of those wonderful ‘aromas’ filling the air!  (lol)  Now, I don’t mind eating corn on the cob, but the term ‘husks’ (according to Webster’s and Strong’s) is the outer covering of the corn kernel.  Wow!  Sounds really nutritious, doesn’t it?

So, NOW, the first smart thing this young man does is make a right decision.  He decides to go back to his father and tell him that he’s sorry for leaving and to tell him that he realizes, that even though he has hurt no man, he has left the ‘comforts’ and safety of his father’s home and rejected his dad, deeply hurting his father.

As the young man is coming home, his dad sees him off in the distance.  Picture this, this boy is probably disheveled, ragged and dirty, but dad runs out and hugs and kisses him.  Letting the boy know that he still loves him, no matter what he may have done or how he may look.

Even when we walk away from our heavenly Father, quit praying, quit church, quit reading the bible, God still loves us.  So when we truly repent, no matter how we look, He receives us back into His fold with open arms!  “Father, I have sinned against heaven and You, I’m sorry.  Result: huggy, huggy, kissy, kissy, ‘welcome home’ son.   Understand that when the boy left, his relationship with his father died – there was none.  Without his father’s guidance he became lost.  Understand his father’s comments when ‘his son was lost and is found, was dead and is now alive!’

The prodigal son is restored back into full sonship with the father.  The robe represents ‘ you have regained access to my storehouses’, the ring restored full authority and the sandals ‘walk in my ways’, you are not a servant,  but again my son.  Jesus tells us “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15) – and live.   

When we repent, Father receives us in the same way.  Yet, our obligation is not only to ‘know’ Jesus’ commandments, but then to walk in them (James 2:17-20) renewing our minds daily (Rom. 12:1-2) enabling us to be able walk in Jesus’ steps.  All heaven rejoices when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7).  Obedience is important to Father (Psalm 34:18-22, 51:15-17).  Keep in mind that should we walk away, we need to repent and come back.  As Christians, we can turn our back on the Lord.  Think, how much more would heaven and the angels rejoice when those who  have turned away repent and come back?

Consider the workers in the field of the householder.  The man went out several times throughout the day and hired workers.  They all agreed to work for so much and at the end of the day, those who had worked all day were paid the same as those who had only worked a few hours (Matt. 20:1-16).  Seems a little unfair, but when we consider that the wages we are talking about here are eternal life, how can one of us have more eternal life than another, even though some may have entered into it sooner?

I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons, the right or wrong of the older son, but as things come into perspective for us, I think we all can understand the situation.

In summary, let’s put the prodigal son into perspective.  When someone confesses Jesus as Savior, coming into the kingdom of God, we are accepted into His fold.  An infant is still a son though he really knows nothing and can’t do much.  We need to grow in the Spirit, God’s love.  Even as the child grows and learns to ‘take care of himself’ and make the right decisions, as young Christians, we need to learn God’s will and how to abide in His love.  A child walks under tutors and governors until the time his father has appointed (Gal. 4:1-6).  Father sets teacyhers and Spiritual guides into our lives to help us grow.  Set aside chronological age here, we’re talking Spiritual age.  Spiritual age is determined by how deeply we are abiding in the love of God!  Not just how much do we know.  Satan knows the bible, forward and backward, more so than any Christian but he still ‘chooses’ to separate himself from Father.  Don’t forget, Satan quoted scripture against Jesus in the wilderness, BUT Jesus came back with the ‘whole’ truth (Matt. 4:1-11).

The prodigal son wasted his inheritance which his father had given him, after he left.  Consider bank accounts, cars, homes, etc., all that stuff would be gone.  The son wasted it.  Those original items are his-to-ry.  But it doesn’t mean that those things can’t be replaced (in this world and/or the next) with different items, once we come back into the kingdom. 

Father gives every human a ‘gift’ which is without repentance, which means one doesn’t have to be ‘saved’ to have it.  Doubt me?  Look at the world of entertainment!  How many performers have awesome talents but they don’t know the Lord?  Yet, Father enhances those gifts as we use them for His glory.

As with the prodigal son, our recommitment to the Lord, restores those of us who have wandered, back into the Lord’s fold.  We, once again become full sons (and daughters) of our Father in heaven.  We may not have all that we had before, but we can start regaining, through our obedience to our Father, perhaps gain even more.  And we do this by discovering how to live in God’s love, becoming obedient to Him eternally.  Read the gospel of John!  Read the letters that the apostle Paul!  And once we’ve done that, go back, starting with Genesis and read the whole bible through Revelation to see the depth and breadth of God’s love toward us.

Jesus can restore us and when our heart is, once again right with the Lord, Father wraps His loving arms around us as He looks forward to the time when He can say to us “Welcome, My good and faithful servant (son) (Matt. 25:21).

Amen

 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

 

3-13-2021 Entry into Jerusalem & the Last Supper



What was going on with Jesus just before He entered Jerusalem?

Let’s set the stage for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday.  Just what was He doing before that day?  Not going to go into detail here, but just going to mention some notable points. 

Of course, He was still ministering.  He was always ministering.  He shared the parable of the householder who went out searching for workers and where He told His disciples “He who was first shall be last and he who was last shall be first (Matt. 20:1-16, Mark 10:29-31).

He prophesied His death to the disciples (Mark 10:32-34).

As He explained the kingdom of God, He told His disciples that they had to receive it like a little child (Mark 10:13-16).  That is with absolute trust, not doubting (James 1:5-7).

He shared with the rich man what it took to inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17-25).

Depending on the gospel, either James and John or their mom (for them) expressed the desire to be on left and right hand of Jesus in the kingdom (Matt.20:20-23, Mark 10:35-45).  Jesus had to get that set in order for it was not His to give but for whom it was prepared.

Mary anointed Jesus (for His burial) wiping His feet with her hair (John 12:1-8).

And, of course, He did not neglect healing folks (Matt. 20:30-34, Mark 10:47-52).

In short, He continued doing what He always did - ministered

Now, we’re going to talk about His entry into Jerusalem and the last supper for a bit.  This will be a compilation of the events from the four gospels.

Entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-14, Luke 19:29-41 & John 12:12-16)

At Bethpage and Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples to get a donkey, upon which no man has sat) and her colt for Him to ride into the city.  He told them that if any challenged them they would say the Lord needs them and they would be able to bring the donkey and her colt.  They set their clothes upon the donkey and then they set Jesus thereon also.  Then a great multitude spread their garments and palm branches in Jesus’ path to Jerusalem shouting “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”  And as He came into Jerusalem, people wondered who He was and the multitude said “Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth!”  Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus to quiet the people down and Jesus responded “I tell you that if I should ask them to hold their peace, these stones would then cry out.”

Now, take note that when Jehu was anointed king over Israel the people made a big commotion (2 Kings, 9:11-13).  The Psalm and the prophets tell how Israel should rejoice when the rejected stone is become the corner (Psalm 118:1-29), riding upon a donkey (Zech. 9:9).  And we need to remember that Jesus was ins the ‘natural’ lineage of King David (Matt. 1:1-17).

Father reminds me of the movie Cleopatra (1963) and all the big fuss which was made over her entry into Rome.  I can imagine the atmosphere for Jesus was much the same, just no dignitaries to greet Him.  Jerusalem may not have seen such a display since the Magi came looking for the infant Jesus.

The Last Supper         (Matt. 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-38 & John 13:1-17:26)

On the first day of the feast of the unleavened bread Jesus gathered with His disciples in the upper room.  Jesus had sent Peter and John (Luke 22:8) before to go and follow a man carrying a pitcher of water to meet the man who would provide the room.  That evening the twelve sat down with Jesus.

As they ate, Jesus announced that He would be betrayed by one of the twelve, who was eating with Him.  Of course, they all wondered who.  Jesus said “He who dips his hand with me in the dish.  I follow the path given Me, but for he who betrays me, it would be better that he had not been born.”  At that point Judas Iscariot asked if it were him and Jesus replied “As you say.”

Jesus then took the bread, blessed it and passed it among His disciples saying “Take, eat, this is My body which is given for you.  Do this remembering Me.”

You may say “Okay, we observe the body and blood of Jesus in the bread and wine and that’s cool.”  Remember, Jesus IS the Father “in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God (in our midst) (John 1:1-3, 14Matt. 1:23).  He had to become and show us that living in His love could be done and in so doing, He would take our sins upon Himself that we would not be burdened by them – for eternity.  He gives us the Holy Ghost within our hearts to help us live for Him.  His own blood washes us clean from those sins so when the Father looks at us He sees the cleansing of Jesus as the Holy Ghost helps us to live for Him.  Those who ‘stand with the Lord shall be found in the ‘book” (Dan. 12:1-3).  Those who overcome shall be in the ‘book of life’.  We will experience the new heaven and the new earth, God will dwell with us and be our God.  There will be no more death, sorrow or pain and He will wipe away our tears.  We shall drink of the river of life freely and we shall be God’s sons (Rev. 21:1-7).

We remember Jesus with the bread and wine but it also represents our eternal existence with Him.  Hallelujah!

And He took the cup and giving thanks He said “Drink all of it.  This is My blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say to you that I will not drink the fruit of the vine again until I drink it new, with you, in My Father’s kingdom.”

Luke notes that Jesus also told the disciples that He desired to eat this Passover with them before suffering (the cross).  Luke also relays what Jesus says about who is great in the kingdom of God and that the twelve will judge the twelve tribes of Israel.  He also brings out where Jesus tells Peter that Satan desires to sift him but he is the strength of his brothers (so it won’t happen).  Jesus also prophesies that Peter will deny Him three times before the cock crows.  And Jesus gives His companions some traveling instructions.

Now, John only ‘mentions’ the supper, but starts his account when Jesus gets up and washes the disciples feet.  Jesus sets things in order, who we are, who He is and who the Father is (John 13:5-20).  Jesus knows that Satan has entered Judas so Jesus says to Judas “Do what you have to do, quickly (John 13:27).” Then, from that point through the next four chapters (that is through John 17:26) Jesus explains to His disciples, the depth and breadth of love.  What it means, what it takes and the benefits of living in love. 

Understand, that from the writing of the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament) until the 9th century, the books of the bible were divided into paragraphs for reading purposes.  The chapters (as we know them) were developed in the 13th Century.  Verses came along when Robert Estienne developed the system we now use in 1551. 

Jesus caps these five chapters with “Neither do I pray for these alone but for all those who would believe on Me through their word.  I would that they all would be one, Father, as You are in Me and I in You.  I would that they would be one in Us that the world would believe that You have sent Me. 

And I have given them the glory You gave Me that they may be one as we are one.  I in them and You in Me that they would be made perfect in one.  I would that the world would know that You have sent Me and that You have loved them just as You have loved Me. 

I desire, Father, that those whom You have given Me would be with Me where I am that they might behold the glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Oh, righteous Father, the world has not known You but I have known You and these whom You have sent Me, know You.  I have declared Your name to them and I will continue to declare it so that the love with which You have loved Me would also be in them and that I would be in them. (John 17-20-26)”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives.  

I didn’t go into detail with these five chapters from John for they equal just about one fourth of that gospel.  To talk about all contained in those chapters would take a book again. Read the accounts here from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but don’t just read about the entry and the partaking of the bread and the cup …, but take a special note of the five chapters in John.  Ask Father to help us understand what is being said.

Remember, as you read each account, Mathew and Mark relate their accounts of what they felt important of their encounter with Jesus.  Luke was an historian who tried to get the ‘facts’ together for people so they might understand (Luke 1:1-4). And John?  John tries to get us in touch with the heart of Jesus.  After it was he who laid his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper (John 13:23).

May the Lord be with you.  Jesus asked as much!

Amen