Posted by: dhkrause | December 10, 2014

The True God and Eternal Life

God created the first man and woman in His own image, reflecting his own being, and breathed into their nostrils the breath of life.

Genesis 1:27 (NKJV)
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 2:7
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

All things were created through the Word of God, the light of life who came in the flesh as Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, full of grace and truth, manifesting the character of the Father who had sent him.

John 1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

David looked forward to eternal life and prophesied that the Messiah, “Your Holy One”, would not see corruption – speaking of His resurrection.

Psalm 16
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The Father gave his Son, and Jesus laid down his life, so that all who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

He is the good shepherd who gives eternal life to his sheep, those who believe in him and follow him.

John 10
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Just before raising Lazarus from the dead Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Those who die believing in him will be raised to everlasting life, and believers who are living when he returns will never die.

John 11:25-26
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

Those who believe in Jesus Christ are collectively his Bride. He is preparing an eternal abode for them and will come and receive them to himself.
He is himself the way, the truth and the life.   As Thomas à Kempis declared, “Without the Way, there is no going, without the Truth, there is no knowing, without the Life, there is no living.”

John 14
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

To know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent is to have eternal life. (John 17:3) Jesus Christ is the Word of life, manifested so that we can have fellowship with the Father and with His Son in His name.

John 20
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

1 John 1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Believers have fellowship with one another by walking in his light, with the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us from all sin.

1 John 1
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Love for God is perfected by keeping His word. Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father. His atoning sacrifice cleanses us from all sin, and his grace empowers us to walk as he walked.

1 John 2
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4) This especially includes believing in the testimony God has given of His Son, through whom we receive eternal life.

1 John 5
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

God sent His Son so that we could know and abide in Him who is true, “in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 12/7/2014

Posted by: dhkrause | November 9, 2014

The Humility of Christ

The humility of Jesus (Yeshua) was rooted in his love. At the Last Supper, Jesus knew his time with the disciples was nearing an end, so he emphasized his love for them in humble words and actions.

John 13 (NKJV)
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

Jesus’ performing of a servant’s task underscored the truth that he came to serve and to lay down his life for all who believe in him. He ties these two together in Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” In the same way, he declares in Luke 22:27, “… I am among you as the One who serves.”

In Matthew 11:29, his intimate relational love is evident as he invites his followers to be yoked together with him explaining, “… I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

In Philippians 2, Paul urges believers to be “like-minded, having the same love” as Christ, who “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant”.

Philippians 2
Unity Through Humility
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
The Humbled and Exalted Christ
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus tells Peter in John 13:7, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” The symbolic meaning of this act would become clear after Jesus’ death and resurrection. In John 13:15, Jesus also tells the disciples he has given them an example that they should follow:

John 13
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

In washing their feet, Jesus was teaching by example a principle of humble service to one another. His washing their feet did not lower his dignity; rather, it revealed the humble character of the Son of God.

Barbara van den Akker writes in her book, “ABC’s of Walking With God (and winning the spiritual battle)”:

Our prime example of humility is, of course, God Himself. That has got to be the greatest understatement of the ages! Imagine the One Who thought of all there is seen and unseen, created it and holds it all together by the Word of His power becoming one with His creation, absorbing all of their sin into Himself, taking the punishment for it and then turning and giving His unspotted holy righteousness to the offenders. Take heart, Beloved, God dwells in the high and holy place with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit to revive the spirit of the humble. (Isaiah 57:15) Now, what is our reason for holding onto pride? What ridiculous excuse can we use for not turning the other cheek and humbling ourselves? Correct! There is none. Not one!

In John 13:17 above, Jesus promises to bless those who do these things.  F. F. Bruce comments: “This beatitude relates to one particular aspect of a principle which Jesus repeatedly underlines in his ministry: it is not enough to hear, understand and approve what is right; one must do it.

Jesus’ humble service flowed from his love.  In John 13:34, Jesus gives them a new commandment: to love one another as he has loved them.

John 13
The New Commandment
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

F. F. Bruce comments, “The standard of love which the disciples are to have one for another is the love which their Lord has lavished on them: ‘he had set his love on his own people who were in the world, and he loved them to the uttermost.’ (John 13:1) The commandment of love was not entirely new: all the law and the prophets were summed up in the twin commandments ‘You shall love the LORD your God …’ and ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; Mark 12:28-33; Gal. 5:14); but by his teaching and still more by his example Jesus imparted a new depth of meaning to it.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 11/9/2014

Posted by: dhkrause | October 26, 2014

God’s Chosen People

The elect of God according to the New Testament are those who believe in the God of Israel and in the Messiah he has sent, Jesus (Yeshua), the Son of God. These are the Ecclesia, the called out ones, the body of Messiah, including both Jews and Gentiles, described in Ephesians 2 as “one new man”. Believers who are physical descendents of Jacob (Israel) have gifts and callings from God that are increasingly important in these last days before Jesus’ return.

Paul describes this “one new man” in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
Brought Near by His Blood
11a Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh …
12b were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Christ Our Peace
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Paul writes of the mystery hidden from the ages but now revealed: since the coming of the Jesus (Yeshua), Gentiles are invited along with believing Jews to become part of God’s chosen people, fellow heirs of His promises.

Ephesians 3
The Mystery Revealed
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3a how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery … which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

In the beginning, the church was composed mostly of Jewish believers. As a result, the leadership of the church in Jerusalem convened in Acts 15 to determine whether to allow Gentiles into their fellowship as followers of Jesus (Yeshua) without conforming to Jewish ordinances such as circumcision. After some debate, they decided that the only requirements would be that they “abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality .” (Acts 15:29)

Sadly, over the course of the next two centuries when Gentiles had become the majority in the church, they eventually decided that Jews could not join their fellowship unless they renounced their Jewish laws and ordinances. This being said, the true biblical church, made up of those who believe in Jesus and obey his commands, has always included both Jews and Gentiles.

The physical bloodline of the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) remains important, and God has never revoked his gifts and callings to them. On the contrary, Paul writes in Romans 11 that when the Jews as a nation receive Jesus (Yeshua) as their Messiah it will be life from the dead, both for them and for the world.

Romans 11
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2a God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.
Israel’s Rejection Not Final
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Paul compares Gentiles who follow Jesus to branches from a wild olive tree grafted into the cultivated olive tree representing Israel:

Romans 11
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. …
23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

God’s chosen people are those who believe and obey His Word and believe in His Son, Jesus (Yeshua), who is the Word made flesh. This is the Israel of God, including Jews and Gentiles who have been grafted in by faith. Peter describes this one new humanity in this way:

1 Peter 2
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

These are the people of the New Covenant described by God in Jeremiah 31:

Jeremiah 31
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 10/26/14

Posted by: dhkrause | October 20, 2014

Prophetic Gospel Message in Genesis Genealogy

For God So Loved the World

The meanings of the Hebrew names in the genealogy from Adam to Noah contain a prophetic gospel message:

Man is appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.

(Chuck Missler, ‘Hidden Treasures in the Biblical Text’, p. 17)

Genesis Geneology

Bible reference: Genesis 5, 9:29

The Holy Spirit inspired these names over the span of a thousand years forming a prophetic statement about the Son of God whose death would bring salvation to a lost and dying world.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Posted by: dhkrause | October 13, 2014

Living for God’s Glory

A central message of the Bible is that God’s people are called to live for His glory. In Psalm 72, Solomon praises the name of the coming Messiah, and of the God of Israel, and prays that the whole earth will be filled with His glory.

Psalm 72 (NKJV)
17 His name shall endure forever;
His name shall continue as long as the sun.
And men shall be blessed in Him;
All nations shall call Him blessed.
18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
19 And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.

David prophesies in Psalm 86 that all nations will come and worship, and glorify God’s name, and personally vows to glorify His name forever.

Psalm 86
All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
10 For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.

In Psalm 96, upon returning the Ark to Jerusalem David exhorts people of all nations to give glory to the Lord and worship Him in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 96
Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

John 1 declares that the Word became flesh, revealing His glory:

John 1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus, the living Word of God, was focused upon giving glory to the Father in his life, death and resurrection, as seen in his prayer in John 17.

John 17
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

In John 12, nearing the hour of his death on the cross, Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane, “Father, glorify Your name.”

John 12
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

In John 14 and 15, Jesus encourages the disciples to pray to the Father in His name, promising that the Father will be glorified in the Son by answered prayers, and by the revelation of His love.

John 14
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

John 15
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Jesus exhorts believers to live in a way that inspires others to glorify God.

Matthew 5
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray for God’s glory.

Matthew 6
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
And the glory forever. Amen.

We live for God’s glory by doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 10/12/2014

Posted by: dhkrause | September 29, 2014

Resurrection Life in Christ

The Bible records that Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose again after three days, fulfilling many Messianic prophecies including the “sign of Jonah”. Jesus (Yeshua) explains in Matthew 12 that the account of Jonah being three days in the belly of a fish and then emerging alive is a prophetic picture of his death and resurrection:

Matthew 12 (NKJV)
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

In 1 Corinthians 5:20, Paul (Shaul) describes Christ’s resurrection as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”, recalling the promise of Daniel 12:2, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Paul describes the promise of resurrection life this way in Romans 8:11:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul compares the first man of the earth, Adam, with Christ, the second Man, who is the Lord from heaven, and makes this promise in verse 49: “as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”

1 Corinthians 15 (NKJV)
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Paul goes on to teach in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that even here and now, believers have new life in Christ:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

In Revelation 1:17-18, the risen Lord announces himself to John, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.” In Revelation 21, John sees a new heaven and a new earth, and the Lord declares in verse 6, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”

Revelation 21 (NKJV)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”

This revelation of the Son of God who is also the Son of Man, the Beginning and the End, who makes all things new, is prophetically pictured in the first sixteen letters of the Hebrew Bible, as explained by Doctor Yonathan Fass in his book, “Creation’s Heartbeat”.

Genesis 1 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ׃

Bereisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz

The first four words (16 letters) in the Hebrew Bible contain shorter words within them. For instance, the word, בר (bar) meaning “son” occurs within both the first and second words. (Note: Hebrew is read from right to left.) Taken with the following letters, one finds the phrases, son of Seth (the third son of Adam and Eve), and son of God.

The same two consonants, בר , also are used in forming the verb “bara”, meaning “create”. The repetition of these letters carries a suggestion of a new creation. Finally, the fourth word, את (et), is composed of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, Alef and Tav, and has a prophetic sense of “the beginning and the end”.

In John 11:25-26, just before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus declares, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4 that He who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us up, and the eternal glory we will have with Christ will outweigh any troubles we may encounter in this life:

2 Corinthians 4 (NKJV)
13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, … 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. … 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 9/28/14

Posted by: dhkrause | September 24, 2014

Can You See God?

A teacher was using the scientific method to try to teach a 5th grade class about evolution and the nonexistence of God. She asked Tommy if he could see the tree outside. Tommy says yes. She goes on asking him if he can see things like the grass, the flowers, and the sky. Then she asks if he could see God. He answers “No” and the teacher says, “That’s my point. We can’t see God because he isn’t there. He doesn’t exist.”

A girl in the class asked if she could ask the boy some questions and the teacher agreed. So the girl asks Tommy the same questions: Can you see the sky, the tree, etc. And then she asks him, ”Do you see the teacher?” Tommy says Yes. “Can you see the teacher’s brain?” Tommy says No, and the girl replies, “Then according to what we were taught today in school, she must not have one!”

Posted by: dhkrause | September 14, 2014

The True Shepherd and His Sheep

In David’s most famous Psalm, he describes the many ways the Lord is a shepherd to him, providing for his needs, giving rest and restoration, wisdom to walk in His ways, freedom from fear, and the knowledge of His presence. His rod protects the sheep, and applies discipline if needed; his staff draws them away from harm. By the anointing and provision of the Lord they overcome their enemies. Goodness, mercy and life everlasting in His presence – these are His promises to those who follow Him.

Psalm 23 (NKJV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 100 reminds us to give thanks and praise to the Lord our God. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 100
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Isaiah 53 describes the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah-Savior who was yet to come. He has carried our sorrows and taken our judgment upon himself, as a shepherd giving his life for his sheep who have gone astray.

Isaiah 53
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Peter describes how Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilled the promise of Isaiah 53, bringing salvation and healing by his sacrifice for all who believe in him.

1 Peter 2
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

In John 10, Jesus describes his work as the shepherd of his people. He is both the shepherd and the gate of the sheepfold. He speaks, and his sheep hear his voice. He leads them and brings them into abundant life in God’s presence. As the good shepherd, he has laid down his life for us, and he is risen from the dead just as he said. F. F. Bruce writes, “If he was to impart resurrection life to others, he must receive resurrection life himself, and to receive resurrection life he must pass through death.” He did this for all who believe in him, as John 3:16 declares. We are eternally secure in him; he and the Father are one.

John 10
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. … 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

In John 17, Jesus prays that the union of life and love he shares with the Father would be shared by every believer, and that the glory the Father has given to the Son would shine through us, so that the world may know that the Father has sent His Son and loves us as He loves Him.

John 17
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 9/14/2014

Posted by: dhkrause | September 1, 2014

All Things Working Together for Good

In John 9, Jesus responds to the disciples questioning about why a man was born blind:

John 9 (NKJV)
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

The blind man may have had this question himself from time to time over the years. Strikingly, Jesus states that the man was born blind so that the works of God could be revealed in him.

While Jesus was physically in the world, God purposed to reveal he was the light of the world through signs such as this, as Jesus then explains:

John 9
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Sometimes God takes what we consider to be evil and makes it work together for good. Paul declares this principle in Romans 8:28:

Romans 8
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This theme is particularly well illustrated in the life of Jacob’s son Joseph who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Years later when he was co-regent with the Pharaoh in Egypt, his repentant brothers came to him after their father’s death to plead for mercy. Joseph famously responds:

Genesis 50
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

The way God sets things up for His purpose to be fulfilled is also clearly seen in the book of Esther. When Mordecai urges her to intercede for her Jewish people by going before the king unasked at the risk of her life, he declares, “… Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) She consents, declaring, “… if I perish, I perish”, and the rest is history. (Esther 4:16)

The man born blind may not have known he was called by God for this special purpose, but later looking back at his healing by Jesus he most likely understood. God’s purposes override our own because our lives on earth are meant to glorify Him, not us. Like this blind man healed by Jesus, we too have the joy and privilege of living for God’s glory and letting His light shine through us. (See Matthew 5:14-16)

Upon being healed, this man realized Jesus was sent from God. When asked, he answers, “He is a prophet.” He testifies repeatedly of what he had just experienced: “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Still being pressed by his questioners, he exposes the error in their perspective:

John 9
30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

Jesus finds the man to let him know exactly who he is:

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”
36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

Jesus explains that those who are spiritually blind but think they see need to recognize that they are spiritually blind in order to be healed:

John 9
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

Several of the Beatitudes in Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” likewise point to the blessedness of knowing we are poor in spirit without Him, of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and having a pure heart focused on seeing God:

Matthew 5
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
     for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
     for they shall see God.

What Jesus desired the healed man, and all others to see is that true fruitfulness can only come through being connected to Him, as he later explains:

John 15:5
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Jesus invites all who sense the need for the help that only He can give, to come to him to learn and find rest for our souls:

Matthew 11
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 8/31/14

Posted by: dhkrause | August 18, 2014

Light of the World

God is the source of all light, both inner and outer. By His word, light broke forth upon the waters covering the earth, and the cycle of day and night began. On the sixth day, He created man in His own image – male and female – with the light of self consciousness.

Genesis 1 (NKJV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

All things were created through the eternal Word of God. John’s gospel reveals the Word of God to be His Son, eternally dwelling with the Father. Light and life flow from the living Word of God who became incarnate as Jesus Christ. He declared in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

John 1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

In Numbers 6:24-26, God gave Moses this priestly blessing for Aaron and his sons to speak over the children of Israel:  “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” His face shone upon David, who declares in Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation”. He sought not just the help of the Lord, but His face, to behold the beauty of the Lord in His temple.

Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

David’s son Solomon writes prophetically of the Messiah in Proverbs 16:15, “In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.” Paul (Shaul), with a heart for God like David, declares in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Isaiah 60 describes a coming time when the glory of the Lord will be seen upon His people Israel, and the nations will come to her light. The Lord will be to her an everlasting light, and her glory.

Isaiah 60
Arise, shine; for your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.

John describes the glory of the New Jerusalem in a very similar way:

Revelation 21
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).

In Ephesians 5, Paul urges believers to walk as children of light through Jesus Christ, who came into the world for this very purpose:

Ephesians 5
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/

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