Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The 2nd Adam and Isaiah 53.

 
There’s an interesting principle recognised in Scripture. I’d call the Principle of the ‘Flesh’ then the ‘Spirit.’ I Corinthians 15:45-49. Consider it in the light of Esau and Jacob, Saul and David.

Apply this to Adam of the Garden of Eden fame and the 2nd Adam from Galilee. Here, in the mind of God, are the only two true men in Earth’s history. Let the following stretch your mind: what Jesus did in His ministry He did as Man, not Immanuel [God with us]. Therefore, the 1st Adam could have done what Jesus did! Maybe from that we can gain an insight into the horrendous cost of the treason of Adam of Eden.
His legacy is dark. It includes death, both physical and spiritual; the loss of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; the delusion of being as a god [the Serpent’s word]; the works of the Flesh [Galatians 5:17-21]; corruption of the body [1 Corinthians 15:42]; Etc.

In the light of this you can understand Romans 3:23, we fall short of the Lord’s ‘bench mark’ because we have Adam as our Federal Head. Romans 5 uses the words: sinners, wrath, enemies, condemnation, judgement, to further describe our situation from Heaven’s perspective. Co-incidentally, this explains why the 2nd Adam’s entrance into the World required the virgin birth. He was free from the 1st Adam’s curse and legacy bequeathed to us.

How was it possible then for God to look on and talk to Adam and Eve? Because of the wonder of the fact that the Messiah, in the mind of Yahweh, had already been crucified. He looked at Adam and everyone thereafter through the cross. The Eternal Lord also clothed Adam and Eve in clothing made from skin, presumedly, from a sheep.  

Jesus as the 2nd Adam was tested by Satan in the Wilderness after fasting for forty days. It was as Man Jesus faced the one who beguiled Eve to bring about her husband’s downfall. Jesus prevailed as Man by standing on the Word of God and using it to unmask and then defeat His adversary. Scriptures informs us that He was tested through the same means with which we are, yet without yielding [Hebrews 4:15].

In the light of the Christ of the cross we can begin to grasp the enormity of the 1st Adam’s failure. There on Calvary was the greatest conflict of all time, and beyond. Adam of Eden’s betrayal with its consequences, Satan’s instrument, Death and Yahweh’s righteous judgement. All this, plus the sin of everyone ever conceive sought to overwhelm and destroy the Servant of Isaiah 53. Could His sinless, tested humanity prevail?  What was required to put things holy, pure and immortal was one as Adam was before His fall. Another Creation of another Man would not do. That which was required was a descendant of Adam and Eve. Because, Adam of Eden had been made in the image of God, [Genesis1:26-27] it was possible for God to be clothed in Humanity [Philippians 2:5-8]. Whilst Isaiah 53 deals primarily with the Nation of Israel’s cataclysmic failures, Jesus stressed its wider embrace. There is another sheep fold He must bring under His shepherding care. This would also require Him to lay down His life for them [John 10:15-17].

All of this would be useless without the testimony of the empty tomb. If Christ be not risen, He is a fraud, the scriptures are a lie, we who preach Jesus as Lord and Saviour, risen and interceding for us are deceivers. However, Jesus the Christ, the 2nd Adam, the fulness of Isaiah 53’s shadow has conquered all that which sought to destroy Him.

As the 2nd Adam what has He achieved? Much more than that which follows. We share in the resurrection from the dead; He has made us alive; death is destroyed, He will rule supreme; the gift of a new, spiritual, incorruptible, glorious and immortal body [1Corinthians 15:21-54]. By His grace, through commitment to Him we are new people, justified, kings and priests, righteous, reconciled, at peace, rejoicing in hope [Romans 5 2 Corinthians 5:17 Etc.]. and, we shall see Him, worship Him and be like Him [1 John 3:2.]

When you read Isaiah 53 with its beauty and savagery one thing ‘speaks’ loud and clear, ‘He shall see the labour of His soul and be satisfied’ [verse11]. This reminds us of Hebrews 12:2 ‘looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Hm endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’  

To reject the Person revealed in Isaiah 53 and made known to us, from the Gospels, as Jesus is dangerous. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and as such He alone can lead us to the Father. As Peter said in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no other, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” And those words were secured by His death at Calvary and His triumph from the tomb. There is no other Redeemer! Outside of Jesus the Christ, is condemnation, separation, and an eternal sorrow!

Whilst there is the opportunity do not neglect His grace or spurn His offer of forgiveness, newness and a faith relationship which leads to beholding Him in His Kingdom. Give Him a call, how, simply believe He is close by, unseen yet waiting for you to invite Him to be your Saviour and Lord. this is your giving Him your life in a faith response to that which He has done for you. Get a Bible, read Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, the four Gospels to give yourself a foundation on which to know and enjoy Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Find a church which believes the Bible is true and teaches it.
 

©Ray Hawkins Sept.3rd 2019

Friday, August 30, 2019

The land of Israel and Isaiah 53.

There’s something strange about the land called Israel. In area so small, it’s difficult to see on a world map, yet it is desired by many nations. Many wars have been fought on it across the centuries. Satan longs to sit enthroned on the Temple mount and the surrounding Nations covet it. The prophesied final conflict between Christ and Satan is centred in Jerusalem whilst the invading hordes encounter the judgement of God on the plains of Armageddon. So much of what is taking place in the World today shrinks in importance with events surrounding what many term ‘The holy Land.’

 
 At this moment the ‘Promised Land’ seems locked into a cursed prison. Many consider it forsaken by God. The greater portion of the people are agnostics or atheists and although a lot of the country has been made productive, much more needs to be done. Still, we need to remember it has a destiny. It’s a land unique and a country mentioned by scripture with words which make it ‘alive and with feeling or sleeping and waiting.’

Abraham and his descendants were promised to inherit this land, with blessings and consequences. The reason stemmed from the fact that the Lord claimed the land as His own. Israel were tenants of the land, not owners. Obedience to their covenant with Yahweh meant prosperity, disobedience brought on them, judgement, and ultimately captivity in a foreign land. There were certain specific expressions of immorality and lawlessness which Yahweh abhorred. Shedding of innocent blood placed a burden of guilt on them [Deuteronomy 19:10]. King Manasseh drowned the land in innocent blood and much more, 2 Chronicle 33:1-18, and the Nation and land suffered. Jeremiah quotes the Lord about how the land ‘felt’ and said it ‘mourned [12:10-13].

Centuries before the Babylonian captivity King Solomon built a temple. When it was dedicated his prayer mentioned the time when the Nation would go into captivity. Solomon, based his prayer on a prophesy by Moses in Deuteronomy 28-31 that repentance would pave the way to return [2 Chronicles 6:19- 42]. However, sin against the Holy One of Israel required retribution [Jeremiah 51:5]. Jeremiah also recorded the land was cursed [Jeremiah 44:22]. How could the curse be lifted? When the penalty is paid, the period of the curse passes. But it is only by the shedding, the covering of a poured- out life, symbolised by the blood of sacrifice! Christ Jesus we are told was cursed by being crucified on a ‘tree’. This was based on Deuteronomy 21:23 in the mind of the Jews. The blood of innocents cried out for justice and it was the blood of an unblemished innocent that responded. Christ's shed blood paid the prices justice demanded, cleansed the land an delivered a far greater threat of judgement. Reject His substitutionary act of grace and the wrath and justice of the Father falls without respect to persons.

Zechariah spoke and wrote about the cleansing of the land, 3:9, in one day. This would be achieved by the Promised One known as ‘My Servant, the branch.’ Later, in 13:1 Zechariah points to ‘in that day’ when a fountain will be opened for the cleansing from sin and uncleanness. This would also have far reaching consequences for the land. Throughout this book are references to Jesus and various deeds fulfilled in the Gospels. For the Land of Israel, the prophets foresee a future of vitality, beauty, safety and the centre of the Kingdom of God. Isaiah writes , it will be a time when the wolf and lamb get along, the leopard and the young goat lie side by side by side as will the calf and young lion [Isaiah 11:6].

Ezekiel sees it a time when no famine will occur, fruit will multiply and the fields will increase their yields. The people and the land will be free of uncleanness [Ezekiel36:25-32]. A most glorious picture of this coming time is recorded in Isaiah 62. The people will be the delight of the Lord and the land is Beulah, that means it is married.

Is it any wonder that the Servant unveiled in Isaiah 53 will be exalted, extolled and lifted high [Isaiah 52:13].  As the apostle Paul said, He has a Name above every name, and before whom all will bow the knee.

©Ray Hawkins August 2019

 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Israel as the wife and Isaiah 53.

Hosea and Gomer form the love story in the Bible entitled Hosea. It has all the elements of a great novel, love, betrayal. Heartbreak, forgiveness and reconciliation. The added dimension of this book is that Yahweh takes it and uses it to explain His love for Israel. He also uses this analogy to express various truths for His followers today. In a world where marriage is being shredded by people with a Hollywood type of easy come easier go mentality. Among the truths are: loves mercy and forgiveness, God makes Himself an example of being a husband and father. He also gives a purpose for going Himself the title husband [Your Maker is your Husband’ Isaiah 54:5] and Israel the title ‘wife’.

According to Malachi 2:16 it was so that there would be godly offspring. Another reason for the Lord’s insistence through scripture, on not being unequally yoked (c/- 1Corinthians 7:14). There are very severe consequences for unfaithfulness in marriage. Adultery was a death sentence. How is it then that the nation termed Yahweh’s wife wasn’t stricken by stoning? For the people had gone after the gods of the surrounding nations. At the very least He could have divorce her. However, He hates divorce [Malachi 2:16, although He did condone separation, with the purpose of reconciliation. This is why we read in Hosea the effort Yahweh went to rekindle the nation’s love for Him. Love may forgive and restore, but God’s holiness and justice demanded their judicial rights, death!

Throughout the book of Hosea, the reader can sense the anguish of God. Speaking to one of the tribes, Ephraim, he says, “How can I give you up” [Hosea 11:8]. To another, Zeboim, “My heart churns within me”. He promises to heal their backsliding and turn away His anger, but how? Hosea 13:14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” Redemption was understood through the Nation’s animal blood sacrifice which foreshadowed Isaiah 53 fulfilment. Only then could iniquity be removed and the people be restored to their previous relationship. Here will be expressed the reality of Calvary. Paul writes it up so well in Ephesians 5:25, ‘Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for Her.’  The husband took his wife’s condemnation. He died in her place! Has that made her a widow? Fortunately, no! The husband of Israel, the sinless Messiah embraced her guilt and took the sentence. Judgement consumed the sin but the righteousness and purity of the Husband prevailed unscathed. His victory clothed Him in a new, glorified, resurrected body. One day, known only to the Heavenly Father, the wife will also wear her glorified body.

Those insisting Yahweh has removed the nation from His promised program fail to understand this love. If it was true, what an indictment on His power, foreknowledge and grace. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, wrote the following. ‘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 …and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ [Jeremiah 31:31, 33].

Surely, that would have put a smile on Jeremiah’s heart and face.

Next. The land of Israel and Isaiah 53.

 

 

 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Israel – The Servant…Isaiah 41:8-10.

Job is the earliest book of the Scriptures. There, in the first eight verses, we read that he was a very prominent, well respected man. Yahweh crowns him in a confrontation with Satan as “my servant”. That title expresses a relationship with the Lord as well as an honoured role. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob wear this title (Exodus 32:13}, Moses is also honoured in this way. When Israel was created it too was endowed by being so called [Leviticus 25:42,55]

To be Yahweh’s servant held a great privilege wrapped up in a heavy responsibility. Let us briefly consider areas into which Israel was to live out this relationship. Isaiah 43:21 ‘This people I have formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise.’ Is God on some type of celestial ego trip? Of course not! It’s in praising Him we are expressing His person, His mission and His grace. The Psalmists show us the way. It does the heart good to personally write out your praises for the eternal Lord God’s influence and intervention in your life .

The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been formed and chosen to be Yahweh’s witness. In the midst of nations their covenanted relation with Yahweh, the distinctive sacrificial system combined with the Law and promised Messiah made them unique. To be a faithful witness required instruction, then implementation. Here began their descent into compromise and dishonour. They knew what to believe and how to live. But they didn’t believe what they knew, so, were unable to live out what was required. Their call to be a ‘light unto the Gentiles’ failed to shine. Reading the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel we cringe at their betrayal. Trouble is, a similar betrayal takes place in the Church.  

Isaiah 43:7 informs the reader of God’s special purpose for Israel, His Servant. They were for His glory. Their condemnation included tarnishing His Name by mixing Him and His covenant with the idols of the world’s religions and their depraved morality. Being scattered amongst the Gentile nations was to be their ‘eye-opener.’ However, the Servant must be chastised for gross neglect and betrayal. The fullness of the law’s justice would destroy them. So it is, we read that the Person of Isaiah 53 stood in their place.  He was stricken, smitten, afflicted and pierced through for their transgressions. What was the witness being given? No one treats the call of the Lord carelessly. He calls all to give an account, even to the chosen ones.

Therefore, it is the realisation of the need for a Redeemer to step in between judgement and the promises of God. The Messiah had not yet come, the Kingdom of God was still a dream and the Servant stood condemned. How could they keep their calling? Only because of Heaven’s ability to see the future. The Anointed saviour had already been crucified in the mind of God. Only for that fact Isaiah 9:6-7, the promised Kingdom and ruler, would have never seen the light of day. The suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is the most critical Person for Israel’s redemption and continuance and also our salvation.

Jesus lays claim to fulfilling the criteria for the beloved Servant. From the moment He began His ministry in Luke 4:18 by quoting Isaiah 61 Jesus testified in word and deed to being ‘the Servant.’ When we consider His crucifixion from the brutality of the soldiers to His final breath each aspect related to fulfilling justice. They weren’t aware of this, but the Judge was. Jesus was wounded [pierced through], bruised [crushed], stripes given [blows that cut into His body] to deal with the peoples’ grief, sorrows, transgressions, iniquities, peace [restored relationship] and the offering for sin.

It is only by the sinless life of the suffering Servant that the prophetic record concerning Israel will happen. Praise the Lord for the bodily resurrection of the Christ. Our prayers, in accordance with Christ’s, will be fulfilled when God’s kingdom is operational on earth.  

copyright August 25 Ray Hawkins. 
Next...Israel as 'wife' and Isaiah 53.
 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Israel – God’s Son and Isaiah 53.


 Reading Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Fathers in the ancient world held a number of functions, depending on the various cultures. In Israel he was the Head of the family, also a priestly role and also the Judge. It is important to understand this when doing a study of ancient nations. Within Israel the father’s position is stressed with a subtle command. ‘You shall honour your father and mother that your days may be long on the earth.’ This is quoted in the New Testament to the Disciples of Christ, (Ephesians 6:1-3).

In Exodus 4:22-23 the tribes of Israel are described as Yahweh’s son. Pharaoh was dismissive of that the title and its implication. As he hardened his heart against Israel severe judgement awaited which brought much regret upon his family and nation.  God always calls to account those who violate His Name and people. Even His chosen Nation discovered this.

At Mount Sinai, Israel agreed to the Covenant relationship between God and themselves. Part of the Ten Commandments stressed the importance of obeying each household’s parents.  In Deuteronomy 21:18-22 outlines a scenario in which a father has life and death power of his son. The son is labelled as, stubborn, rebellion, ‘will not obey,’ and one who was a ‘glutton and drunkard.’ Before the father can execute judicial authority, he must present his reasons to the city Elders. Condemnation meant stoning to death.

Reading through the history of Israel it’s failure as a son emerges time after time. They get disciplined constantly, but apparently to no avail. How is it then that the Nation still exists, especially in the light of Malachi 1:6, ‘A son honours his father … if then I be a Father where is my honour …’ This was a constant source of irritation to the Lord God which caused the verdict of death on it. They took the Father’s Name in vain. they profaned His holy Name among the Nations. To profane meant that the holy Lord God of creation and redemption was placed in the same league as the pagan gods. Reading the prophet Ezekiel this charge is levelled against all classes of society many times.

The Biblical principle is that the wages of sin is death. Israel the son was doomed to die. But this posed a dilemma for God. He had stated that Israel would one day be ‘Head of the Nations’. That it would be the dwelling place of the great King. That it would be the Nation through which the Messiah would come. But it must die, unless another with the credentials of Son appeared on the scene and took the Nation’s place.

 At His baptism, as an adult, and on the occasion of His transfiguration [Matthew 3 and 17] Jesus was declared to be the Son of God. No one else could have the credentials to be the Lamb for Israel’s deliverance and forgiveness. The ruling Elites of Israel rejected His claim and deeds and condemned Him to die. Jesus placed His call, authority, credibility on John 5:39 and that Genesis to Malachi spoke of Him. Anyone reading the Gospels must be confronted by the insistence of Jesus in calling God “Abba-Father”. The trouble was the people’s unbelief! Anger so overwhelmed that they took up stone to kill Him. They didn’t believe their scriptures. They didn’t bother to investigate. That’s the Devil’s strategy. Therefore, blindness of soul kept them from recognising Jesus as the Promised One. They had no idea that, in their ignorance and hatred they were in fact making possible the Nation’s forgiveness and existence. Such is the Sovereign grace and over-ruling power of God. Yes, it is delayed but their National salvation and restoration is guaranteed.  As the son in disobedience to his father must die, so Jesus as The Son of God must die to pay that penalty. He must fulfil the Passover Lamb’s role. At the same time, He will be their sin offering, their burnt offering, their fellowship offering. All of this would be of no avail without the testimony of Isaiah 53:1Lamb1, “He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied” The resurrection foreshadowed.

Israel lives because Jesus is the Son of God and took their penalty as the disobedient son. He was also the Lamb of God in its many expressions.

Copyright August 2019

Next: Israel, The faithless servant

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

the number 8...a new realm

God is a numbers person. He has arranged for us in His word some very specific numbers to stress eternal principles or doctrinal messages. You will be aware of such numbers as one, two, three, seven, ten and twelve and don’t forget forty. There is one number I find biblically significant from a personal point of view. It is most apparent in the King James translation more so than some others. That number is, eight.

how many people were on Noah's ark? Noah, wife, 3 sons and their wives =8. God was about to drown the old world in an act of holy judgement. The people had 120 to accept Noah's invitation to 'come on board'. They refused due too arrogant,  unbelief and by imagining God would not be so tough in judgement. They were wrong. now, the eight on the ark began a new era - the one we are in now.

Leviticus 17:12 spells out the day on which a male baby was to be circumcised. It was the eighth day. That marked the entrance into the covenant of God with the Nation. Jesus was eight days old when He was circumcised. Luke 2:21).

When the Aaronic Priesthood was established, they had to remain within the tent of meeting seven days after their ordination. In Leviticus 9:1 they emerge to serve the Nation on the eighth day.

When a man or woman with a skin disease was cured seven days were required for confirmation. On the eight day he or she was welcomed back into the community via a prescribed sacrifice.

Remember the Apostle Thomas’ eighth day experience. He wasn’t in the upper room that first Sunday of the Resurrection morning.  It was the following Sunday, eight days later that the Lord met Thomas, with the other disciples, in the upper room (John 20.). How thankful we should be to Thomas for being absent that first Sunday. His testimony about Jesus is succinct and awesome, “My Lord and My God”!
There are other references but that should suffice.

How then does the number apply to us? You will have picked up the concept. The eighth day points to a new beginning! Sunday is the first day of the week, Saturday the seventh which completes the cycle, the eighth day speaks of a new start.

I like to think that we live continually in the eighth day. 2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation, everything old has passed away, see, everything has become new’. (NSRV). When you and I gave our lives to Christ Jesus we entered a new realm with a new relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We have a new song and a new destiny. Our worship is in spirit and truth and we live not by the letter but by the Spirit and when we fail, we have the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ ever fresh in our eighth day ‘world’.

A new year by the World’s reckoning is about to begin. Unfortunately, it will be filled with the moral and spiritual junk of past years, and probably worse. However, we who are in the ‘eighth day’ experience are to enter the coming year with a sense of mission. That is to live out the wonder of our ‘day’ and pray, share through word, writing and witnessing to encourage others to have their own personal eighth day encounter with Jesus.  

Ray (enjoying the day) Hawkins.  

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Come and See

John 1:’They said to him “Rabbi, where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.”

The four Gospels are required to give us an understanding of the formation of a disciple. We appreciate this as we follow the lives of the first men to check out Jesus and then throw their lives into His service. Similar principles apply today.

What caused Andrew and the other disciple to get to investigate Jesus more closely? The words of John the Baptist aroused their interest by the statement ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’’ The term ‘Lamb of God’ so permeated their upbringing and National psych it drove them to know more about this Jesus. Can you reflect upon some incident, or person, that motivated you to give a more detailed consideration of the Man from Galilee?

Why did they ask Jesus about his lodgings? Presumably, they had the intension of dropping by one day. Jesus took their inquiry and turned it into an invitation, “Come and see.” He didn’t bombard them with irrefutable proofs about Himself and His ministry. Rather, Jesus gave them ‘breathing space’ to simply get to know Him even though Jesus knew them. This also applies to His dealings with us.

I wonder what they saw! What did they hear? What did they ask? Whatever took place they wanted more, and they needed to share what they had found. Andrew’s conviction about Jesus is revealed in his comment to Peter, “We have found the Messiah.” That is intriguing. Building on John the Baptist’s words, whatever Andrew asked, or answers Jesus gave, a conviction was born. Over the next three years Andrew and the others would have that statement of faith severely tested. This will be true for you and any others who come to the same conclusion on the evidence presented.

From a prophetic statement of John a monumental movement began because Jesus simply said “Come and see.” A look down the time tunnel of history sees similar incidents occurring when individuals have an encounter with the Messiah. Such names as Augustine, Francis of Assis1, Martin Luther, John Wesley, C.T. Studd and a myriad of others spring to mind. You will, undoubtedly, have your own list.

As you read the account of the first disciples in John chapter one there is a going intensity in understanding this Jesus. Simon has a major make-over with his name. He will be called Cephas which means a piece of stone. It would be some time before the unstable components of his character were forged into the significance his new name. That is something similar to our experiences. When we meet the Master and yield to Him we are given a new name. However, it will take the daily pressures of life interacting with our faith in Christ for our new name to ring true.

On what was probably the third day Jesus begins to move back to Galilee. Why did Philip respond to Jesus invitation “Follow me?” How did he come to the conviction that Jesus was the fulfilment of what Moses and the Law pointed to?  In sharing it with Nathaniel this conviction aroused what today would be a politically incorrect comment “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Once again the personal encounter with Jesus and Nathanael illustrated the grace of the Lord. In combining the six individual encounters with Jesus there is a movement of conviction summed up by man under the fig tree. “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Easy words! Words Jesus accepted but He knew they would be tested later. For us, when we come and see this Jesus and place our trust in Him, our words will be tested. We can go further than the original six statements whilst agreeing with them. For we believe Jesus is the crucified and risen Saviour of the World, the promised Messiah, Son of God, Lord of Glory. We have bowed by faith before Him and in the words of Thomas called Him “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28).

All that began for us, as it did for the disciples because Jesus through His servants says similar words to us, as to the original six “Come and see!”

 copyright Ray Hawkins 21 July 2019