Posted by: dhkrause | August 31, 2015

Call on the Name of the Lord

Evangelist Rabi Maharaj relates how when he was being groomed to be a Hindu Guru, one day he was awakened from his contemplation of a flower by the nearby sound of a deadly snake raised up in striking position. Suddenly he remembered his mother’s advice given years ago, that if he were ever in a dangerous situation requiring divine intervention, to call on the name of ‘Jesus’ which is above every other name. He had barely voiced the first syllable when the snake dropped down and slithered away. This was a first step towards his becoming a Christian.

“Call on the name of the LORD” is an oft repeated Biblical command. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Psalm 116:13 connects this same heart cry with salvation: “I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.”

Exactly what is ‘the name of the LORD’? The word ‘LORD’ (all upper case) in English translations is used for the Hebrew Tetragram name for God, ‘YHVH’, phonetically pronounced Yah’weh or Yehovah’. The short form of this name is ‘YHH’ pronounced ‘YAH’, as in Isaiah 26:4 (NKJV), “Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.” This name is also part of the Hebrew word, ‘Halleluiah’, which means “Praise YAH”.

It is noteworthy that Jesus’ Hebrew name is ‘Yeshua’, which means ‘YAH saves’. Thus Matthew 1:21 suddenly acquires a deeper meaning when translated, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [‘YAH saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.”

Whatever pronunciation one uses for the name ‘YHVH’, or ‘Yeshua’, the one addressed is still the same, and His name is above all names:

Philippians (CJB)
Therefore God raised him to the highest place
and gave him the name above every name;
10 that in honor of the name given Yeshua [Jesus],
every knee will bow —
in heaven, on earth and under the earth —
11 and every tongue will acknowledge
that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai
[Jesus Christ is Lord] —
to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus declared in Matthew 23:39, “For I tell you, from now on, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” The restoration of Israel will depend upon her people calling on the name of the Lord:

Zephaniah 3 (NIV)
Restoration of Israel’s Remnant
“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him shoulder to shoulder.

Jesus (Yeshua) is coming soon to judge the nations. How vital it is in these last days to call on His name! Psalm 75 speaks about how God’s righteous judgment brings blessings to the righteous and destruction to the wicked.

Psalm 75 (NKJV)
Thanksgiving for God’s Righteous Judgment
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.
“When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly.
10  “All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off,
But the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.”

True righteousness is rooted in God alone, who gave His own Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. This atoning sacrifice was the fulfillment of key prophecies, such as Isaiah 53.

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.

Isaiah 53
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.

One of the best summaries of the Gospel (Good News) is in 2 Corinthians 5:

2 Corinthians 5
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God gives eternal life to those who believe in His Son, and He progressively changes believers to be more like Him. 1 John 3 declares that every follower of Jesus Christ has this hope in Him, that “when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

1 John 3
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Here and now by faith in Christ, we are new creations:

2 Corinthians 5
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

As His followers, we are called to love one another as He has loved us, which we can only do by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 13
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.”

1 John 4
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Walking in the light of Christ’s love will draw others to believe in Him too. In particular, Paul writes in Romans 11 that Gentile believers are called to help Jewish people by walking with Christ in such a way as to “provoke them to jealousy”:

Romans 11
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?

Ultimately as a consequence, Paul declares in Romans 11:26, “all Israel will be saved.” The same event is described in Joel 2, with the statement, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Joel 2
32 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

This promise is available to all people here and now: whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Romans 10
… if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

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

Posted by: dhkrause | August 17, 2015

Mercy, Truth and Restoration

Mercy and truth have met together in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, for all who believe in him:

Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed. – Psalm 85:9-10 (NKJV)

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. – John 3:16

Psalm 115 speaks about eternal life for the righteous, through God’s mercy and truth, revealed in Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ:

Psalm 115 (NKJV)
1 Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.

17 The dead do not praise the Lord,
Nor any who go down into silence.
18 But we will bless the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

Jesus gave this guideline for setting our priorities for righteous living:

“… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

In his conversation with the disciples in Acts 1, he gave three specific priorities. Just before ascending to heaven, he said they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and would be witnesses to him. Thirdly, he promised the restoration of the kingdom to Israel in the times and seasons set by the Father. This baptism, commission and restoration are key priorities for believers today.

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:4-8 (NKJV)

The baptism in the Holy Spirit came ten days later at Pentecost, after which his followers became witnesses to him in power “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Down through the centuries wherever believers have received these promises with faith, they have continued to bear glorious fruit for God’s kingdom. Today the third priority, the promised “restoral of the kingdom to Israel” has clearly begun, and requires our participation.

A brief look at some events in the history of Israel may be helpful to understand the meaning of this third priority. The Bible records that soon after the death of King Solomon (in 931 BC), the northern ten tribes rebelled and Israel became divided into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom called itself the “house of Israel” or the “house of Ephraim” (its leading tribe), and the southern kingdom (including Jerusalem) became known as the “house of Judah”. Two centuries later, because of idolatry, God allowed the northern kingdom to be conquered and scattered by the Assyrians (in 722 BC). Then in 586 BC, again because of idolatry, God allowed the Babylonians to overrun the southern kingdom, destroy the temple, and exile thousands of its leaders to Babylon.

Seventy years later God moved upon the Persian king Cyrus to enable Jewish exiles in Babylon to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. So the house of Judah was reestablished in the land, but the house of Israel (Ephraim) remained scattered throughout the nations. Most of their descendants lost track of their ancestry, and they became known as the “ten lost tribes”. However, though most of the descendants of the house of Ephraim do not remember who they are as a nation, God still remembers them. He is awakening them and calling them to be part of the promised restoration of the two houses of Israel (Ephraim and Judah) into a single nation once again. It is very likely that many Christians, who serve the God and Messiah of Israel, are descendants of the ten lost tribes. In any case, believers in the God of Israel and His Son Jesus Christ are honorary citizens of Israel and called to participate in this great reunion (Psalm 87, Ephesians 2:11f).

Angus Wootten writes, in his book, “Restoring Israel’s Kingdom”, p. 211-121, “Full restoration of all Israel calls for the reunion of the house of Ephraim and the house of Judah. Likewise, the Jewish concept of a “national relationship” with the God of Israel, needs to be married with the Christian concept of an individual relationship with the God of Israel. For, those who ultimately dwell in Israel’s restored Kingdom will have necessarily experienced both individual and national salvation!

“The Shepherd God is giving those of Messianic Israel the opportunity to help gather His lost sheep, that He might have His heart’s desire – which is to have a people for His own possession. The end-time remnant is now being gathered as foretold by Jeremiah:”

“But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.”
– Jeremiah 23:3-8 (NKJV)

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

Posted by: dhkrause | August 4, 2015

One New Humanity

A great prophecy is in process of being fulfilled in our day – the promise of “one new humanity”, of Jews and Gentiles being reconciled with God and with each other in Christ . Historically, God has welcomed people from all nations to become honorary citizens of Israel. Two outstanding examples are Rahab and Ruth, Moabites listed in the ancestry of Jesus.   Rahab was the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, who became the great-grandmother of King David. (Matthew 1:5-6)

In Psalm 87, God declares his love for Jerusalem, and declares that those who believe in Him will be recorded as having been spiritually born there. This calls to mind Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Those who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, will rejoice when he comes again to establish righteousness upon the earth, as described in Psalm 97:

Psalm 97 (NKJV)
The Lord reigns;
Let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad!
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples see His glory.

For You, Lord, are most high above all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.
10 You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” In Psalm 127, King Solomon likewise wrote of co-laboring and prospering with the Lord:

Psalm 127 (NKJV)
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

In Psalm 133, David describes the blessings of unity in the Lord:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Paul describes in Ephesians 2 how the unity of the people of God will ultimately blossom into “one new humanity” of Jews and Gentiles reconciled with God and with one another in Christ:

Ephesians 2 (NIV)
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Many of the Gentiles described in this passage, whether they know it or not, are descendants of the dispersed northern tribes, called the “house of Ephraim” or the “house of Israel”. Jeremiah 31 describes the coming reunion of the house of Ephraim/Israel with the house of Judah, and the establishment of a New Covenant where His laws are written on our minds and hearts.

Jeremiah 31 (NKJV)
20 Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child?
For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still;
Therefore My heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord.
21 “Set up signposts, make landmarks;
Set your heart toward the highway,
The way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel,
Turn back to these your cities.
22 How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth—
A woman shall encompass a man.”
[Or, “Israel will embrace her God” – NLT ]

31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 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.

In the New Covenant, the people of God will fulfill the heart of the Law by walking in love by the power of His Spirit, as Jesus walked.

1 John 2 (NKJV)
5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 8/2/15

Posted by: dhkrause | July 20, 2015

The Glorious City of God

Believers in Jesus Christ are given eternal life, and membership in the household of God. Both gifts are cause for ceaseless rejoicing.  Regarding the first, Jesus declares in 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.”  Regarding the second, Paul describes how believers in Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, have now become part of the commonwealth of Israel, “fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God”. (Ephesians 2:11-13, 19-22)

This citizenship, prophetically foreseen, carries privileges and responsibilities for believers in Messiah in these last days leading up to His return.  In Psalm 87, the sons of Korah describe the glories of the city of God, including honorary citizenship to be given to believers, whatever their natural birth:

Psalm 87 (NIV)
He has founded his city on the holy mountain.
The Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you, city of God:
“I will record Rahab [Egypt] and Babylon
among those who acknowledge me—
Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush [upper Nile region] —
and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’”
Indeed, of Zion it will be said,
“This one and that one were born in her,
and the Most High himself will establish her.”
The Lord will write in the register of the peoples:
“This one was born in Zion.”
As they make music they will sing,
“All my fountains are in you.”

Author Batya Wootten elucidates the significance of this God given citizenship in her book, “A Door of Hope for the Last Days”, writing on pages 39-43:

“Isaiah foretells a glorious promise that involves the Believers of our day. It is made to Jerusalem.

Isaiah 62 (NKJV)
For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the Lord will name.
You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the Lord delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

“Important declarations are made in these verses and they have to do with our call in the Last Days:

For Jerusalem’s sake we must not keep quiet – until her righteousness goes forth, her salvation like a torch that is burning.

  • She will be called by a new name and be a crown of beauty, a royal diadem in the hand of our God.
  • She is not to be called Forsaken or Desolate; but My Delight is in Her.
  • Her land will be called YHVH delights in her and to Him her land will be married.

The Father and Son both love Jerusalem, will be married to her, and the same should be true of us. Earthly Jerusalem needs our care and concern. At this time in history earthly Jerusalem and eternal Jerusalem are on a collision course. We are her appointed watchmen, we are the Body of the Bridegroom and we now need to help prepare the hearts of her people! (Luke 13:34-35).

  • The sons of New Jerusalem will one day marry her, and rejoice over her. According to Galatians 4:26, “Jerusalem above is our mother.”
  • On her walls, YHVH has appointed watchmen, who, day or night will not keep silent nor take rest for themselves until YHVH makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

“These important truths are for now and for us. In Revelation 21 John affirms Isaiah’s declaration that New Jerusalem is the Bride. He saw a new heaven and earth. The first earth had passed away. He “saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”

“Restated, we see that:

  •  We are betrothed to Messiah Yeshua
  • Messiah Yeshua and the Father are One
  • New Jerusalem will be their Bride
  • We are the Body of Messiah (He is the Bridegroom)
  • New Jerusalem is our Mother and we are her sons
  • We go into the Bride and become one with her

“We play a part in all of these roles. Each one teaches us something about our earthly call. If we only see ourselves as a Bride who needs to be swept away, we miss out on the truth of an amazing end time New Jerusalem Wedding. We miss out on the life-changing truth that we are part of Israel and have an enormous job to do in the earth, right now, as watchmen, as part of the Body of Messiah!”

“We must not separate the Bride from New Jerusalem. We are blessed to be called citizens of that Chosen City. It is the City for which our father Abraham looked (Hebrews 11:1-16).

“The story of the Bride is not about us fleeing, but learning to love and care about helping to advance the coming City of Truth. It is therefore time for us to learn to truly “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

We will “prosper” when we do so.”

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

Posted by: dhkrause | July 6, 2015

Creator, Redeemer, Shepherd and King

The God of Israel is our Creator, Redeemer, Shepherd and King. He redeems and shepherds those He has created and called to be His own, and He is the Lover of our souls. Individually and corporately, He is the King over Israel and over all the earth, as will one day be revealed.

Psalm 47 declares that God is the King over all the earth.

 Psalm 47 (NKJV)
1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.

In Isaiah 43, God declares that He has created and redeemed His people for His glory.

Isaiah 43
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.

Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’
Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth—
Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

10 “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord,
And besides Me there is no savior.

25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.

Individually and corporately, God is the Shepherd of His people. In Psalm 23,
David rejoices in the Lord, who is the Shepherd and Lover of His soul.

Psalm 23
1 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.

In Ezekiel 34 and Jeremiah 31, God describes His shepherding of the nation of Israel.

Ezekiel 34
23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

Jeremiah 31
10 “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’
11 For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.

In Micah 5:2, God declares that the Messiah will be a Ruler, born in Bethlehem, who will shepherd His people Israel. This prophecy was used by the chief priests and scribes to direct the wise men from the East to the place of Jesus’ birth.

Matthew 2
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’

In John 10, Jesus describes his role as the true shepherd of God’s people.

John 10
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.
16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
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.”

Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is both the good Shepherd and the Lover of our souls. In John 17, he prays that believers will be joined together in the eternal love relationship he shares with the Father, and that His glory will shine through us.

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/

Posted by: dhkrause | June 22, 2015

Light, Life and Glory

God is seeking people who will hear and obey the call to enter into an eternal relationship with Him full of light, life and glory. David’s deep relationship with God is an example. In Psalm 27, he seeks the Lord, and the Lord gives him light, salvation, life, strength, joy, love and courage.

Psalm 27 (NKJV)
1 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?

4 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.

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

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

The “Shema” passage in Deuteronomy 6 describes the type of close relationship God is seeking to have with those who have ears to hear.

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Yahweh (YHVH) and Elohim are the Hebrew words translated ‘the Lord’ and ‘God’ in these verses. The Names of God Bible renders the passage this way:

4 “Listen, Israel: Yahweh is our Elohim. Yahweh is the only God. 5 Love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Genesis 1 describes how light and life came by the Word of God.

Genesis 1 New King James Version (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.

John 1 likewise describes the Word of God as the source of light and life, and then declares in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”

John 1 (NKJV)
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.

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.

A devout man named Simeon took the eight day old Jesus in his arms and declared him to be God’s salvation for all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the nations and the glory of God’s people Israel.

Luke 2 (NKJV)
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

To know the true and living God is to have eternal life. In John 17:3, Jesus prays,“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” In this passage, Jesus refers to the glory he had with the Father “before the world was”.

John 17 (NKJV)
1 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, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

When asked which is the most important commandment of all, Jesus referred to the “Shema” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), and then approved the questioner’s commentary, implying, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:17)

Mark 12
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 6/21/2015

Posted by: dhkrause | May 24, 2015

The Spirit of Shavuot

Jews and Christians around the world celebrate the Biblical feast of Shavuot (or Pentecost) today giving thanks to God for His spiritual and material blessings.

Jonathan Bernis, president of Jewish Voice Ministries, writes in an email, 5/23/2015:

Shavuot is called the Feast of First Fruits because of the celebration of the harvest when the Israelites brought the first fruits of the soil as a free will offering to God. It is also known as the Feast of Weeks because we count seven weeks from a particular day during Passover. It is also called Pentecost because it is fifty days after Passover.

Shavuot is one of three pilgrimage feasts that the Jewish People were commanded to observe at the Temple in Jerusalem. It celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai when God revealed Himself through the Law.

Jeremiah foretold the day when God would make a new covenant with His People, saying, “Behold, days are coming… when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…. I will put My Torah within them. Yes, I will write it on their heart” (Jeremiah 31:31-22 TLV).

God also declared, “I will put My Ruach (Spirit) within you” (Ezekiel 36:27 TLV). After Yeshua (Jesus) had become our Passover Lamb, God gave His Holy Spirit to Believers on Shavuot. No longer is the law only written on stone, but the Holy Spirit of God writes the Law on our hearts and lives within us! 

On Shavuot we offer God:

  • the first of ourselves,
  • the first of our lives, and
  • the first of our days.

On Shavuot we thank God for revealing Himself to us:

  • in His written Word – given to us on Mount Sinai, and
  • in His Holy Spirit – given to us in Jerusalem.

May you know His joy and peace as you reflect on His wonderful gifts to you this Shavuot!

Sid Israel Roth, president of “It’s Supernatural!”, writes in an email, 5/23/2015:

At Pentecost, we are told to bring a wave offering of two loaves that are baked with leaven (Lev. 23:17). These two loaves are a picture of Jew and Gentile, the One New Man! Leaven in the Bible often represents sin. But it can also illustrate the expansion of the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened” (Luke 13:20-21). 

How will the One New Man expand God’s kingdom?

As Gentile believers allow God’s love to saturate them, they will evangelize the Jew. And as Jewish people allow God’s love to saturate them, they will fulfill their original call — to evangelize the Gentiles.

We need each other. When Jew and Gentile join together as one in Messiah Jesus, there will be an explosion of God’s Spirit engulfing the earth with the Glory of God. This One New Man, the true body of Messiah, will usher in the greatest awakening in history!

Batya Ruth Wootten, in her book, “Israel’s Feasts and Their Fullness” (p. 174f) writes,

           To better understand this feast, we need to understand the Father’s Covenant, Torah, and the Law, as it relates to the redeemed Believer in Messiah.

Most Believers agree that the Father gave the Ten Commandments, or “Ten Words,” to the children of Israel on Shavuot. Then, on a Shavuot day, centuries later, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) was poured out on Yeshua’s disciples as they were expectantly gathered together in prayer in an upper room (Exo 19:9-25; 20:1-21; Acts 2:1-4).

With this outpouring (promised with the New Covenant), the Law that was once written on tablets of stone by the finger of God began to be written on hearts of flesh by the Spirit of God (Jer 31:31-33; 2 Cor 3:3; Heb 8:8-13; 10:16-17).

When Moses was with YHVH (God) on Mount Horeb, He “wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” In the “midst of fire” He wrote them (Exo 34:28; Deu 10:4). Moses said, “He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone” (Deu 4:13).

When we realize that the Ten Commandments impart the spirit of the Father’s Covenant, we more clearly see the New Covenant fulfillment of Shavuot. The spirit of Torah was first written in flames of fire on tablets of stone by the finger of God. That Covenant was then written with tongues of fire on hearts of flesh by the Spirit of God (Jer 31:31-33; Heb 8:8-13; 10:16-17; Acts 2:3; Luke 24:49).

Fulfillment of Shavuot speaks of having the spirit of the Father’s Covenant brought to life in men’s hearts by His Holy Spirit. In other words, Shavuot centers around the spirit of His Torah. When we do not understand the spirit of the Law, we tend to stumble over the minutia of the letter of the Law, and the letter of the law then becomes “a testimony against us.”

Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) gave a simple explanation of the Father’s Covenant commands. One might even say Yeshua consolidated the Torah and even the Ten Commandments into Two Commandments. When being tested by a certain lawyer, He was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Yeshua answered him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets: (Mat 22:36-40).

In saying this, Yeshua was not denying Torah, but was simplifying its message, or giving an outline for the whole Torah. He was speaking of its pure essence, which is love. We must love YHVH with all our hearts and we must love our neighbor as ourselves. That is the essence of the Torah and the prophets. One might say the essence of the Ten Commandments was brought down to Two Commandments, and those two have a common command, they are distilled down to one word – love. As John the Apostle says, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 5/24/2015

Posted by: dhkrause | May 11, 2015

The Family of God

God has a family, which includes all who believe in Jesus (Yeshua). In Galatians 6, Paul describes the equality of Jew and non-Jew in the Messiah; each is a new creation in Him. He prays for peace and mercy to be upon them, and upon “the Israel of God”.

Galatians 6 (NKJV)
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

The term, “Israel of God” refers to His chosen people who have a close personal walk with Him, as pictured in Isaiah 43:1:

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.”

God committed Himself to be a husband to His people after leading them out of Egypt, and again in the new covenant announced in Jeremiah 31. In this chapter, God describes how He had been a husband to the people of Israel, in the covenant which they broke, and how He is now establishing a new covenant with the house of Israel:

31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 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.

New covenant believers are described in the New Testament as the bride of Christ (cf. Ephesians 5:22-33 and Revelation 19:6-8). Considering all of these promises, in God’s coming eternal kingdom, who will be his wife?

Batya Ruth Wootten writes in her book, “Redeemed Israel, Reunited and Restored”, (Key of David Publishing, 2006 www.keyofdavidpublishing.com), p. 59-61:

The people of Israel are the family of the God of Israel. They are His chosen people. But who makes up this family: the Jewish people or the New Covenant Believers?

          Who is Israel?

For ages, the answer given by many [in replacement theology] excluded those of Judaism, but in our day some give an answer that similarly excludes New Covenant Believers from being part of the chosen people of Israel.

To solve this dilemma some teach that the Jewish people are “God’s Chosen People” and that the Church is the “Bride of Christ.” However, our Messiah declared that He is One with the Father. In fact, it was over this claim that the “Jews took up stones to stone Him” (John 10:30-31).

In truth, Yeshua (Jesus) is:

  • One with “the God of Israel”
  • One with Him who calls Israel, “a holy people…chosen…for His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)
  • One with Him who swears that only “if the heavens above can be measured” will He “cast off all the offspring of Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:37)
  • One with Him who avows, “If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob” (Jeremiah 33:25-26).

The unmeasured Heavens remain. The offspring of Israel continue to be the chosen people of the God of all Creation. YHVH continues to love the people of Judah. And yet…

The New Covenant Chosen Ones

In the New Covenant, Peter writes to “the pilgrims of the Dispersion” and says of them, “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” (1 Peter 1:1; 2:9).

Paul similarly writes to the Believers of Thessalonica, telling them, But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

So what is the truth? Who are the chosen people? Is it the Jewish people, or the aliens to whom Peter writes? Another way we might ask our question is this:
If the God of Israel were to again call His people into the desert, where would His non-Jewish followers pitch their tents?

Understanding Israel will help us better grasp YHVH’s end-time plan. It will also answer a question many non-Jewish Believers ask about themselves:

Who am I to the God of Israel?

To help answer this question, we again remember that YHVH says, “Israel is My son, My firstborn” (Exodus 4:22).

This means that conversely, the Father’s firstborn is Israel. It also reveals that Israel is a firstborn title and to be Yah’s firstborn is to be Israel. Even so, Messiah’s followers are called “to the general assembly and ekklesia of the firstborn…to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant.” (Hebrews 12:23-24)

We also belong to the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-22).

[End of quote from Batya Ruth Wootten.]

New covenant believers are included in the commonwealth of Israel. “The Israel of God” is God’s entire family, who together will be His wife. In Ephesians 2, Paul describes this “one new man [humanity]” united in the Spirit and in the Messiah:

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you 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.

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.

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 5/10/2015

Posted by: dhkrause | April 27, 2015

Adopted and Betrothed by God

God is calling a people to be His own, born from above through faith in Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) and aspiring to be his bride. In Psalm 45, the Psalmist uplifts both the Father and the Son of God, describing a company of people who will love and worship him, and be his glorious bride.

Psalm 45 (NKJV)
The Glories of the Messiah and His Bride
6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

11 So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.

Regarding adoption, John 1 describes Jesus (Yeshua) as both the Word of God made flesh (v. 14), and as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (v. 29). It is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (v. 33). To those who receive him, who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God, born of God (v. 12-13).

John 1
The Eternal Word
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.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Word Becomes Flesh
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.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 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.

The Lamb of God
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

In John chapter 3, Jesus emphasizes that to enter the kingdom of God one must be born again from above, of the Spirit of God, by receiving and believing in him.

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

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.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved.

Paul wrote in Romans 8 about the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out “Abba Father”,
walking in the fruits of the Spirit, and eagerly awaiting the adoption that will include the
redemption of our body.

Romans 8
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the
Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God …
23 … we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within
ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

In her book, “Who is Israel? Redeemed Israel A Primer” (pp. 61-62), Batya Ruth Wootten
notes that Paul spoke of his kinsmen according to the flesh and he said they “are
Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and
the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Romans 9:4).

Paul also says God wanted to “redeem those who were under the Law, that we might
receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5).

Paul also wrote to the saints at Ephesus and told them that, God “predestined us to
adoption as sons through Messiah Yeshua to Himself, according to the kind intention of
His will” (Ephesians 1:5):

Ephesians 1
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with
every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before
Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace,
by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Whether Jew or Gentile, God is calling us to the redemption that is found in Yeshua the
Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Born again by the Spirit through faith, we receive adoption as
sons and daughters.  God is seeking a people in love with him who will be his bride.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 4/26/2015

Posted by: dhkrause | April 13, 2015

Transforming Love

Transforming Love

Love transforms. It is said, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Here is a more worthy thought to contemplate: Love transforms. Absolute love transforms absolutely.

Transforming love has its source in God, whose love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8) 1 John 4 declares:

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (v. 8)
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (v.16)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, (v. 18a)
We love Him because He first loved us. (v. 19)

Love and joy go together. When Paul describes the fruit of the spirit, he lists these first: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Nehemiah 8:10 declares, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Abiding in God’s love and joy is a major theme in the upper room discourse of Jesus (Yeshua) to the disciples in John 13-17. He declares,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (13:34-35)

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (14:23)

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (15: 9)

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (15:11)

“Ask [in My name], and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (16:24)

In John 17, Jesus prays that we would enter into the mutual relationship of love that existed between the Father and himself from the beginning. No wonder Paul declares in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

F. F. Bruce writes, “In John 17, Jesus turns from holding communion with his disciples to hold communion with his Father on their behalf. This is his prayer of consecration before the impending sacrifice of the cross. The Father and the Son know each other in a mutuality of love. By the knowledge of God men and woman are admitted to the mystery of this divine love, being loved by God and loving him – and one another – in return.”

John 17 (NKJV)
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.

“The glory which he would receive from the Father would be the glory which he enjoyed in his presence before creation, in that ‘beginning’ in which the Word was eternally with the Father (John 1:2).” (ibid)  Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross enhances the timeless glory he had with the Father ‘before the world was’. God’s glory is shining through him and into those who believe in him, and through them to others. The Captain of our salvation is bringing sons and daughters to glory, as Hebrews 2 declares.

Jesus next prays for His disciples in gratitude for the faith they have received and that God’s glory is being extended to them. In verse 13, he prays that they may have “My joy fulfilled in themselves,” and then commissions them to take His word of truth into the world.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus then prays for all who will believe in him through the disciples’ word. He prays for us to behold his glory and know the love that He shared with the Father before the foundation of the world.

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.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 4/12/2015

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