Two Gardens – Easter 2020

This post is an extension of the Two Gardens post from 2019 and the Birth of a New Adam. (The link will take you to my wordpress.com post.)  The “seven exchanges” are from the book Praying Grace, it is from TBN and Hillsong Church – pgs. 80 to 93.  I am comparing and contrasting things in Eden with a similar event in Jesus’ gardens.  In this post, some of these extend past the borders of the garden.  In reality, this is also comparing Adam to Jesus (the second Adam).

  • Adam was born in Eden. Jesus was resurrected (born again) in His garden.
  • Adam could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They were removed from Eden so could not eat from the tree of life.  Jesus’ tree gives us the opportunity to eat from the tree of life.  We will see the tree of life again!  They grow next to the river that flows from the throne in Heaven. Revelation 22: 2 adds that they produce fruit for every month of the year.
  • Adam “ran” or hid from God.  Jesus “ran” to God and His will.

The book Praying Grace has seven devotions that are labeled the “great exchanges”.  Each “first” item is what we bring to the cross and the “second” item is what Jesus gives us to replace the problem.

  1. Sin for Righteousness – Adam let sin into our lives.  Jesus covers our sin with His righteousness and allows us to be accepted by the Father. 2 Corinthians 5:21
  2. Curses for Blessings – There were curses given in Eden.  There are curses that have been spoken or given to us, even though we may not have deserved them!  Jesus’ blood covers those, ending them in our lives.  Revelations 22:3 states that there will be no more curses. Galatians 3:13-14
  3. Rejection for Acceptance – Adam rejected God when he ate the fruit.  Rejection is rooted in sin.  When we come to Jesus and make Him Lord, we are accepted again into God’s planIsaiah 53:3
  4. Sickness for Health – “By His stripes, we are healed.”  The Father has a plan for us and healthy living is part of it. Isaiah 53:5
  5. Shame for Glory – Adam and Eve felt shame and hid in the Garden. Shame is not something we have to live with because Jesus took our shame and covered it with His blood. Hebrews 12:2
  6. Poverty for Abundance – Tough times occur, but the Father has more for us than we can imagine. 2 Corinthians 8:9
  7. Death for Life – This is spiritual death.  The Father wants us coming to Jesus and accepting Life (His way). Romans 5:12

Pic is from http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/gnpi-101-jesus-resurrection/

Study of the Kingdom – Miracles

Preach the Kingdom and Do Miracles

Jesus’ Kingdom is one of miracles!  Jesus did miracles, He sent His disciples out and they did miracles and people who came from their ministry did miracles.  Ananias who laid hands on Saul was a second-generation Christian, so that makes Saul/Paul a third-generation Christian and he did miracles.  It never really stopped, and the Azusa Street Revival was just one of several revivals that were used to reawaken the concept that God is a miracle-working God!

Matthew 4:23 says Jesus preached the “good news” and healed diseases and sickness.  Matthew 9: 35 restates that thought in almost the exact words and then Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach, heal diseases and sickness, and cast out evil spirits.  In between those two statements was a practical lesson from the Master Healer and Master Teacher.

  1. The Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes – preached the kingdom
  2. Healing a leper as a witness to the priest.  Mark 1: 40 tells the same story, only the man was disobedient. (The devil is a liar.)
  3. Heals the centurion’s (a Gentile) servant
  4. Calms a storm
  5. Heals the Man of the Gadarenes
  6. Heals the paralytic that dropped in through the roof
  7. Heals a sick woman and a dead girl
  8. Heals the blind and the mute

Preach the Good News of the Kingdom and Heal!  Hopefully, the point was made! 

Logos and the Rhema

The Logos (Jesus) spoke the rhema of the Kingdom and the crowds were amazed because of the authority of the teachings (Matthew 7:29).  The Logos also spoke the rhema of God and healed every illness and calmed storms.  As believers we needed the logos to preach and the rhema from Holy Spirit to heal!

Who Did You Ask and Who Gets the Glory?

Emotionalism!  Seeking some parts of the Holy Spirit’s ministry and rejecting others!  The Spirit accepts you, do you accept Him?  Knowledge and understanding of the moving and power of the Spirit are necessary, but head-knowledge does not replace the relationship.  

If you are asking the Father for the Holy Spirit why should you expect something harmful or hurtful?  Is Matthew 7:11 wrong?  The Father knows how to give good gifts, He gave us the Holy Spirit!  

Holy Spirit’s mission is to give glory to Jesus.  He will use willing people to channel His power to humanity and the glory goes to the Father and the Son!  Willingness leads to relationships!  “With your whole heart seek God and He will reward you.”  (Hebrews 11: 6) The Spirit will use you and do great things if you are willing.  How great? How willing!  Oh, you do not get to define great, the Spirit of God does that and it is on a person to person basis.  I can attest, unfortunately, it is very easy to replace a Holy Spirit relationship with works, rules, and many other things.  And then wonder why you are empty (the wrong way), shallow, and unproductive.

Peter and John worked at building a relationship with and knowing the Spirit.  At the Beautiful Gate when they healed the beggar they continually gave glory to God/Jesus for the healing.  (I wonder what happened to the beggar after their court appearance?).  Paul and Barnabas, in Acts 14 gave the glory to the Lord for the healing of the lame man.  Who gets the glory will tell you a lot about the miracle worker. 

Wait A Week

For Jesus, it was Sunday to Friday and they were hanging Him on the cross.

For the Church in Jerusalem, it was not long before favor went to headhunting.

Paul and Barnabas had a short time before the mob stoned Paul to death and Jesus healed him.

The devil hates it when Jesus gets praised!  The devil hates miracles because they undo his evil plans and works.  Unfortunately, it seems that the religious, who want the rules, are the ones who do the killing.  In the Welsh Revival, the leaders of the established church actually paid people to harm the revivalist and those who attended.

Miracles are an important part of the Church of Jesus Christ!  Just remember, the logos is spoken first and then comes the rhema with signs and wonders to confirm the miracle of Jesus on the cross.

See – Seven Miracles of Jesus +1, +1, +++++

http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/lame-beggar-healed/   

 

Day of Atonement, Passover, Epiphany

The Day of Atonement, Passover, and Epiphany may seem like three strange Feast to be linked together when talking about the birth of Jesus.  Bear with me as I explain their connection.  

I know it is a good thing that God is a “God Who hides Himself” and did not give us exact dates for everything that occurred.  “He concealed things” so we could search them out.  Luke or Matthew could have given us “better” timestamps but Holy Spirit stopped them.  But Luke did give us some very important calendar dates.

Time

Jewish timekeeping is different than Western thought, it was started by God in the Garden.  (another post on time) The Biblical day starts in the evening and goes to daylight.  This thought is consistent in the Bible as there are many examples of things going from dark to light.  The Jewish religious month is lunar-based; they would add an extra month when needed to keep them in line with the revolution of the earth.   In the Book of Leviticus, the major feasts are set in this framework of months.

Day of Atonement

This important day, for the Jews, of fasting, prayer, and repentance is explained in Leviticus 16.  In Leviticus 23: 26 its time is given as the tenth day of the seventh month.  In Luke we find Zachariah, John’s father, doing the offering of incense behind the Veil in the Second Temple.  Luke 1: 23 had him finish “his time of service” before going home.  This possibly was until the end of the month, so he was with Elizabeth in the eighth month.  She stayed secluded for five months.  (I am not trying to do days or exact times, those belong to God!)

Passover

Luke 1:26 has the “sixth month” for Mary’s visit with Gabriel.  That should be the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, which makes it the first month of the Jewish year, the month of Passover!  The Father is a God of order.  It would seem fitting to “birth” Jesus in Mary at Passover. That would put Jesus’ “coming out party” with the angels and shepherds in the December/January time frame (Julian Calendar) of the month of Tevet.  (see the calendar below)

Epiphany 

From ancient times (before the fourth century) the 6th of January has carried special importance in the Church!  Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his Testament to Freedom, pgs. 504-5 talks about Epiphany.  I read it in a compilation called God is in the Manger.  On page 90, he talks about four events associated with that date – the birth of Jesus, His baptism, the wedding of Cana, and the arrival of the Magi. Traditions are frequently built on fact.  Some of these I will not try to defend or deny, but it sure is interesting.  (Again, I am not trying to be dogmatic in writing this.)

Tevet is the Jewish tenth month.  The root of the word comes from tov or nine.  The meaning of the word is “good”.  If you look in Psalm 119: 65 – 72, the ninth section of that acrostic psalm you will find the idea of good four times in the NIV. (I did an alternative to how Psalm 119 is written.)

Matthew, in his telling of the Christmas story, injects that the Wise Men had seen the star two years earlier (Herod killed the babies two and under.).  He gives no timestamp, but if it was on Jesus’ birthday (Passover) when they found Him, it would fit. 

Okay, I will go out on a limb here, because I know the Father is a God of order!  Jesus’ return with Mary and Joseph from Egypt should have been at the same time as the Exodus (Passover).  I will inch a little further out and say that Jesus’ baptism with John coincided with the anniversary of the “baptism” of the people in the Red Sea. 

The wedding at Cana – I am clueless!  John was writing about proofs of Jesus’ divinity when he wrote on the Seven Miracles (or the Plus One I added), not about dates and times.  

For you scholars out there, I have not researched any of these thoughts on Epiphany!  It may well be that someone else has already come up with the same ideas!  I like the way they fit together, and it gives me a reason to reflect on Epiphany.  One day in Heaven I will have to ask how close I was to being correct.   

Study of the Kingdom – Matthew 12 and 13

For the second block of study on the Kingdom, Matthew 12 and 13 are the two main chapters.  Transitions of time and location are sketchy but to me, it seems that starting in Chapter 11 these make up a day or at least a very small period of time.  Matthew 12: 46 has Jesus’ mother and brothers wanting to talk to Him.  I think they stayed and were present for the teaching in Chapter 13 because 13: 53 has Jesus going to Nazareth, which is where I started the Third Block of Teaching.  Starting this section of the study in Chapters 9 and 10 would have Jesus answering John’s disciples’ questions without the Twelve by His side.  Other notable things in this section are – the Pharisees saying Jesus has a demon and crediting the healings (things of the Spirit) to the works of the Devil, Jesus telling people not to talk about their healings, and Jesus’ habit of using parables explained.

In the NIV the main section of teaching on the Kingdom begins and ends with lessons using the word “every”.  This frame starts with “every kingdom, city, or household that is divided” (12:25) and ends with “every teacher who knows about the Kingdom” (13:52).  The main feature in this section is parables, especially since Jesus explains three of them.  After forty years of studying the Bible and listen to sermons, it is clear to me that parables grow with you.  New insights should not erase the old but add to them.  It also gives you a framework to use when someone teaches a different concept from the parable.

Having said that I will start with Matthew 13:52 and the portion where the homeowner brings out old and new treasures.  This verse takes me to Jeremiah 6:16 and Matthew 11:10, which is about John the Baptist. My rendering of Jeremiah from the NIV is – stand and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask for the good way, and walk there and find rest.  (This will be another blog.)  The message of the Kingdom started in the Garden, it is not new!  We may use new methods to present it, but that old message is the only place where we will find REST!  John’s (old way) baptism allowed people to believe Jesus and His two “new” commandments – Love God and Love your neighbor!

There are eight parables in this set of teaching.  Seven of them are linked directly to the kingdom of heaven.  Three are explained by the Master Teacher and two of these deal with the future and are restatements of each other.  I suggest a deeper study and a good concordance and Bible dictionary to get the most out of them!  As was His habit, Jesus explained them to His close disciples, which is why we get to hear what Jesus saw as important in them.  So, your ideas need to fit in His framework for the parable of the Sower, the Tares, and the Net!

The Parable of the Sower is not introduced with “the kingdom of Heaven is like”.  Jesus brings in the Kingdom in His explanation to the disciples – Matthew 13: 11 and verse 18.  Mark 4: 10 clearly states that Jesus was alone with the disciples when He explained it to them.  To add a layer into this great parable, I can see references to the people in this block of teaching!  The Pharisees are the path, the non-compliant blind men (Matthew 9: 28) are the rocky places, Judas Iscariot is among the thorns, and the Eleven are the good soil.

The parable of the “good seed and the tares (weeds)” (13: 24) is again explained to the disciples at a “quiet time” and is restated in the Parable of the Net (verse 47).  Western thinking gives you an idea of weeds, but not how serious “tares” really were to the crop and harvest.  Tares or zizanion (#2215 in Strong’s) are a darnel or false grain.  They resemble wheat or barley as they grow and then they produce a deadly crop of black seeds that can make you sick or cause death.  That will put a whole new layer on the teaching of that story!  The timing of the “harvest” and getting rid of the “bad fish” from “the net” may mess with your idea of the rapture, ask for wisdom and peace.

The mustard plant (Sinapis nigra) is another “seed” parable.  My Strong’s/Vines Concordance gave me a “new” look into this parable.  So, instead of focusing on the seed look at the plant!  The birds “of the air” roosting in its branches may not be a good thing.  That idea does pair with the tares and the first three groups of seeds in the Sower.  If the birds are the “world” they are just using the Church, which sounds a lot like Psalm 74: 4.

Extra Thought

The first three parables in this set all deal with seeds!  Focusing on these as a cohesive block of teaching, it starts large and goes small.  The Sower is the general spreading of the Gospel, the Good Seed/Bad Seed deals with the Church (good seed), and the Mustard Plant is a single seed.  “Bring out old and new treasures” with those ideas.    

 Yeast 

Yeast is an “old treasure” for me, as I have written four previous posts on the topic – Passover, Model of Church Growth, Yeast, All Bad, and What I learned.  But musing on this again has given me a “new treasure”.  I have focused on the yeast and not on the dough.  Dough (flour) is a combination of many seeds ground together.  Add water and oil (Holy Spirit) the mixture is changed – sugar/starch content, smell, and size.  You could even put in some mustard for flavoring:).  

The remaining three parables in this set have a very different tone.  First, Jesus takes time to explain the Tares to the disciples, this should show a transition of places and time.  These seem to be given first to the disciples – they left the crowd.  I still think His mother Mary could have been there but Scripture does not say.  It is probably that these parables were recycled and told to future gatherings of people.  The Treasure and the Pearl seem to go to the individual believer and the Net deals with “good fish” and “bad fish”.  

In the Treasure and the Pearl, the response of the Man and the Merchant are the same – find something of value, sell everything, and buy what was of more value.  In contrast, these parables give two different ways people find the Kingdom.  The Man with the treasure found it by accident; while the Merchant was carefully looking for something and realized the Pearl was what he wanted!

In the Net, Jesus repeats, in different imagery, the parable of the Tares.  I want to think this was for His fisherman disciples.  If you have ever used any form of a net to catch fish, you know that there is a lot of movement inside of those cords.

the featured pic is from http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/parable-weeds/

Study of the Kingdom – Juxtaposition of Tell/Don’t Tell

When you do an intense study you often notice things that prompt further study!  In my study of the kingdom this topic has resurfaced – tell what Jesus has done/don’t tell of His miracles.  In the study of the Second Block of teaching (Matthew 9:30 NIV) Jesus “warned sternly” the blind who had their sight restored to not talk about the healing.  He did this several times and in different circumstances to different people.  I have heard good explanations on some of these events and they made sense.  But when you start to do your own study those sermons get added too.  For me putting these events into the context of the Kingdom, has added to the topic of Jesus forbidding some to talk about His works and others to keep silent.  

In a loose count of the times Jesus told someone in the Gospels not to talk about Him or His miracles, I found eleven examples (there may be more).  Some of these are the same story in the Synoptic Gospels.  A good example of this at the Transfiguration when Jesus told the three disciples not to talk about this experience until after He rose from the dead.  Many of these warnings came after healings.  Mark 3: 11+12 shows Jesus frequently rebuking demons not to tell who He was!  I will examine these groups later.

In contrast to “don’t tell” is Jesus directing the Man of the Gadarenes to go tell his family – Mark 5:19, Luke 8:39.  We could also add the Great Commission in Matthew 28.  To compound these events is the fact that the news of Jesus’ healing spread by word of mouth throughout the country.  So, why the contrast and what was the problem? 

WHY

 It is great when Matthew tells you the prophecy in 12:17. He quotes Isaiah 42: 1-4 – He will not quarrel, cry out, break a bent reed, or put out a smoldering wick (my paraphrase).  Jesus’ humility and His mission to see the Father’s “kingdom come” is the center of the “don’t tell”.  Connected to this is John 6: 15, Jesus knew if these works were spread about they would “take Him by force and make Him king”.

My Explanation

The fact that people talked and spread the word about Jesus did not seem to be a problem!  The warnings that came with the Transfiguration and certain healings, I think, were more wrapped up in the thinking of His brothers in John 7 – if you want to be famous show more miracles.  Jesus had a mission, to bring in the Father’s kingdom!  This meant the righteousness that could only be ours through His death for us.  Jesus’ kingdom was going to be given to Him and He did not need the assistance of a human army, He had a Heaven one if He wanted one!

Jesus’ habit of silencing demons had two facets. 1. I will credit Jentezen Franklin with this statement, even though others may have said it before him.  Jesus did not need the praises of demons (false praise).  They will bow before Him soon enough, as will everyone else. It would seem their mocking praise was given to get Him off the path to the cross.  It echoes Satan’s attempt at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry after Jesus fasted forty days.  2. Get the people thinking about a military messiah and freedom from Rome.  John the Apostle wrote about Seven Signs Jesus did in his gospel.  They would have been enough for non-kingdom minded factions to try and make Him a military figurehead, while they started a war.

So, why would Jesus tell the Man of the Gadarenes to go tell his family?  Again, in my opinion, he was not Jewish (Matthew 10:5) and he was going to tell non-Jews about Jesus; they would not try to make Jesus an earthly king.  Jesus sent out the first gentile missionary!  

The Great Commission was after the Cross (and forty more days of Kingdom teaching) and Jesus was sending His disciples out to preach righteousness and show signs and wonders to prove the Holy Spirit was with them (be careful who is given the glory for the miracle). 

Thoughts 

  • In Mark 1:43 and Matthew 16:20 Jesus told lepers, who were healed, to show themselves to the priest in accordance with the Law.  This would have been a sign from heaven that they were always asking for.  Instead, they went and talked about the miracle.  We never see that their healing was lost, but you have to wonder if they were in the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost?!

When the Three on the Mount of Transfiguration was told not to talk about what they saw, they followed instructions (Luke 9:36).  That is why they were given the explanations to the parables and were sent out to preach Jesus and His work on the cross.

pic http://www.freebibleimages.org