Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Articles

ELOHIM

Elohim which means Strong Creator

     The first time it is used is Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth.”   Our God exists equally as three persons.   Each member of the Godhead actively participated in Creation:
Father – Genesis 1:3 – “Then God said…”  God the Father spoke and big things happened!
Son – Colossians 1:16 “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth … All things were created through Him and for Him.

   Holy Spirit – Genesis 1:2 – “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Our banner illustrates this name of God with a slice of the vastness of all God created.   Included too are four-star constellations.   Before God’s word was in written form, it may be that people understood His story from the stars.   Since the ancient Greeks, Satan has tried to distort the true meaning of the stars with false stories and various religions so the true names and meanings of the stars are all but forgotten.

     The four constellations included in this banner are Orion, Leo, Virgo and Centaurus.   Orion is pictured at the top and is unique since it is visible to the entire planet.   Orion represents Christ as the Coming Prince, coming forth as light.

     Leo marks the conclusion of the stories written in the stars, the culmination of Revelation – the Lion of Judah pouring out the fury of His wrath on the Serpent.

     Virgo marks the beginning of the story, the promise of a righteous branch, born of a virgin.

     Centaurus is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere and pictures the despised sin offering whom in the throes of His own death – death on the cross (pictured by the “Southern Cross” beneath his feet) is simultaneously destroying the enemy with the point of His spear.

     How does this name of God encourage us?  This same Creator God, who created all the wonders of nature around us and above us, also took the same care in crafting each of us.   Psalm 139 reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  His assessment of His creation of us, in His image in Genesis 1:31 “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was VERY good.’

     No matter how flawed we see ourselves, God made us exactly how He wanted us, “so that the works of God might be displayed in us.”  (John 9:3)   Moses wasn’t happy with how He was made and God reminded him, “Who has made man’s mouth?   Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind?   Have not I, the Lord?”  (Exodus 4:11)

     “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.”   Psalm 139:14

JEHOVAH TSIDKENU

JEHOVAH - TSIDKENU   the Lord our Righteousness

     Since Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden, God has required a blood sacrifice to cover or atone for the cost of sin.   With the institution of Passover, we see the requirements of a lamb, spotless, clean and innocent.   Sin is messy.   The blood price required to cover it is messier.

     Year after year, hundreds of thousands of innocent animals were slaughtered to pay the price of man’s sin.  Yet the cost was never paid in full.   More sin required more sacrifice.   Until we learn in Hebrews 10:4 that, “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” 

     The law and these sacrifices were a shadow of the good things to come.  (Hebrews 10:1)  
In spite of all the amazing miracles Israel experienced first hand, their hearts were cold, and stubborn and they rejected God as their King.   The endless sacrifices could not heal their hearts and restore the broken relationship with God.

     In Jeremiah, all looked hopeless.   They had drifted so far away from the Lord and from the covenant established under David.   It didn’t seem possible to be right with God, ever.   But then the Lord introduced this new facet of His character when He promises, “that I will raise to David a Branch of Righteousness; a King … and this is His name by which He will be called: The Lord our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

     This promised King would be the perfect, spotless Lamb, who’s sacrifice for sin would be complete and only required once for all time.   The spotless Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ,  “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

     “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God … For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”   (Hebrews 10:10-14)

     What does this mean to us?  From the moment we are conceived we are separated from God because of sin.   We feel that separation and loss but no matter how hard we try, no matter how many good things we do, we can never bridge that gap.   We can never cover, atone, or make up for our sin.

     But Jesus Christ made the way.   He came in the form of man, lived a perfect, sinless life, and offered Himself in our place.   He willingly became the Lamb on the altar and He paid the price for our sin.

     His blood was shed for you and me and was enough to bridge the gap and make us right with God.This blood can save the soul, heal the sick, mend the heart. 
This blood can give you access to the very throne of God.
And it still can go the distance through the pain to where you are.  
This Blood is for you.
The Blood of the Lamb

 

JEHOVAH SHAMMAH

JEHOVAH – SHAMMAH  the Lord is There

      “Mommy, will you please leave the tent flap open so I can see God?”
 How awesome it must have been to simply go outside and look toward the Tabernacle to see a visible representation of God’s presence!   In the daytime, a pillar of cloud.   At night, a pillar of fire.   Shade in the daytime for a very hot, unforgiving desert sun, nightlight at night, providing both warmth and light.

     Though this shikineh glory of the Lord was the first visual presence of the Lord, the name, Jehovah-Shammah is first used in Ezekiel 48.

     This prophecy comes about 14 years after the Babylonians swept in and delivered punishment to the wayward Israelites.   For many years prior to this event, Israel had fallen down a slippery slope of destruction.   From the golden reign of David and early years of Solomon, they seemed to grow complacent and even arrogant in their position as “the apple of God’s eye.”  They slipped other gods into their religious routine, offering sacrifices to a multitude of pagan deities.   They spent their time and money chasing after these false gods, began new holidays and practices based on these new gods.   Marriages fell apart.   Promiscuity skyrocketed.   The courts were a joke.   The innocent were prosecuted and the guilty waltzed free.

     God’s answer was to fulfill the promise He had made to Solomon in I Kings 9:6-9 which was to punish them, destroy the beautiful temple, the city, the land and carry off the people into slavery.

     Now that the “spanking” is over, God promises to re-gather His people, wash them, give them a new heart and fill them with the Holy Spirit.    Ezekiel is given a vision of the new Jerusalem where there is no more sin, and best of all, the name of the city, “THE LORD IS THERE.”

     For about 33 years, God Himself walked among men as Jesus Christ.   He wasn’t the unapproachable fire and light of the Old Testament, but a man we could relate to on a personal level.

     How does this affect us now?   We have the presence of the Lord with us all the time even though we can’t see Him with our eyes like the children of Israel in the desert could.   As children of God, the Holy Spirit resides within us at all times, never to be removed as was the case with Saul.   We have the promise of Jehovah-Shammah as a visible presence to look forward to, a hope that can never fade.

     We have the assurance that no matter how dark our desert night is, Jehovah-Shammah is with us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Heb. 13:5)

     Psalm 139 is further assurance that there is no place in heaven or on earth where we can be away from the presence of the Lord.   He is there with us from the moment of conception till the day we die and are at once in the physical presence of the Lord forever!

JEHOVAH SABAOTH

JEHOVAH SABAOTH – The Lord of Hosts

     In Medieval times, communities were built around a castle fortress.   The people lived and worked outside of the walls.   If an enemy attacked, however, they all ran to the castle to be protected within it’s walls.   Outsiders were not allowed.   Just the townsfolk that belonged to the castle.

     They didn’t take this privilege lightly or make jokes of inside. Neither did they make the call for a broken shovel or a stubbed toe or a solitary enemy.

     The community of Christ is built around a strong tower – Jehovah Sabaoth – the Lord of Hosts. Our commander/defender has at His disposal myriads of angels. As He told Peter in the garden, He could call 12 legions of angels – that’s 72,000! If it only took ONE angel to kill 185,000 Assyrians in one night, think of what a heavenly army of 72,000 could do!!!!

     But this is not a name of God to be invokedit.   They didn’t hollar that the enemy was coming just to see what would happen or how fast the townsfolk could get lightly.   This is not the name of God you use when your car won’t start, or you have a cold or are just feeling a little blue or out of sorts.   That’s like using a full body cast for a paper cut.

     When David was a teenager he was not a part of the military forces of Israel.   Indeed the military was not armed much better than David – they only had weapons of wood and stone.   The Philistines had all the iron and black smiths.   The Israelites had to go to the Philistines just to get their plows and sickles sharpened.   Now they are at war with the Philistines.   Sort of like the Plains Indians trying to fight an army of Sherman tanks.

     This was the time to call out the big guns so when Goliath swaggered out with his monstrous sword, spear and javelin and a lot of hot air boasting, David went out armed with the biggest gun available, a slingshot and the Name of Jehovah-Sabaoth.   He didn’t take 5 stones because he was afraid of missing, he took 5 stones because Goliath had four brothers.   He ran to the mighty fortress of the Lord his God and God took out the giant.
 Hannah had a giant in her life – a giant of barrenness.   She did her part – good nutrition, lovingly respectful of her husband, patiently bearing taunts and insults from his other wife.   Then she called on the NAME, Jehovah-Sabaoth and He answered and Samuel was born.

     This is the name we call on when we are at the end of our rope.   When we have no resources of our own.   Then we call on the Name who is “a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe,” as Proverbs 18:10 tells us.   Notice that the strong tower is for the righteous – members of the community of Christ.

     RIGHTEOUS?  I’m not righteous – no that’s why we call on Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness and confess and receive His cleansing forgiveness.   Then we are members of His community in good standing and are welcomed inside the safe protective walls.

     When do we call on Jehovah-Sabaoth? When the world stands against us for believing in the Lord God and His Word.  When sin and sorrow has surrounded us and we feel like we’re drowning under its weight. When grief has swamped us and we are sinking in a whirlpool of unanswered questions.   When we feel we just can’t take another step.

     Psalm 34:7 says – “The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them.”
 
     Isaiah 43:1-3  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name you are MINE.   When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.   When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you, for I AM the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”