Two Gods in Conflict, or One God Supreme?
Our views, our insights, our recognitions, our perceptions of our world, society, culture, politics, traditions and religions are held onto tenaciously and defended vigorously because we believe our comprehension and interpretation of them to be true. But what if we happen to be wrong? What if we have been deceived into an acceptance of false values, erroneous ideas, and have opted for incomplete perceptions based on biased research findings? As far as “God” is concerned what if our long-held, time-worn cherished concepts are in actual fact periscopic, even myopic? Our theological under-standing determines our entire outlook concerning our existence and place in this universe. And our theological beliefs most certainly determine our attitude toward our fellow man.
How open-minded are we?
The great mathematician Douglas Hofstadter asks his new students a riddle, to determine their openness to new ideas.
“A father and his son are driving to a football game. They begin to cross a railroad crossing, and when they are halfway across, the car stalls. Hearing a train coming in the distance the father desperately tries to get the engine started again. He is unsuccessful and the train hits the car. The father is killed instantly, but the son survives and is rushed to hospital for brain surgery. The surgeon, on entering the operating theatre, turns white and says, “I cannot operate on this boy. He is my son.”
The question is, what is the relation between the boy and the surgeon? [The surgeon was his mother.]
Allow me to ask a question of my fellow believers in Yeshua. How do we Christians perceive the sovereignty of God? Do we really believe in the Lordship of the Mashiach? The two, of course, are synonymous.
In His body of resurrection, it is written that Our Lord confronted his disciples shortly before He leapt into the heavens from the Mt Olivet. Matthew Levi states, “Yeshua came and said: All power, authority and control is given unto me in the heavens and on earth” (Mt 28.18).
Now that is a bold statement. As Christians and Messianic believers we claim that we believe Messiah’s words to be true. But do we really? After all, some standing right there before the risen Lord were more honest than some of us are today. Notice a little earlier in this account that some of His very own talmidim (students, disciples) hesitated, had reservations, actually doubted (Mt 28.17). Yet having an open mind and suspending our disbelief allows us to experience new vistas in perception.
Yeshua tells us plainly that He possesses all power in the universe — that He has, in fact, unrivalled cosmic Lordship! The supremacy belongs to Mashiach! As the Self-authenticating Word the Messiah does not say that He enjoys a mere percentage of that awesome heavenly authority, or even that He controls the vast ratio of positive and negative dominion in the elemental depository from which void emanates the imperturbable intergalactic influences. Nowhere in the state-ment of Yeshua do we locate even a hint that He has a controlling share with some devil or evil principle in the “balance” of power. He affirms, rather, that ALL power and authority are His! Yet even some of His original apostles, like some of us today, doubted.
Time To Make A Decision
Whenever Yeshua spoke, people had to make a decision. They either accepted Him at his word or picked up rocks to cast at Him. They either confidently heard what He had to say with joy and gratitude, or else they doubted. Yeshua never neutralised people. The authority which He wielded was both decisive and incisive. It is true that most (if not all) Christians today mouth that “Yeshua is Lord.” In congregational praise we sing that great anthem of worship, “He is Lord.” We extol His awesome magnificence, and eternal Godhead, and we religiously wallow in His immense creative Self-comprehension as in unity we melodiously chant, “Majesty, Worship His Majesty.” Well, we certainly mouth that Yeshua is Lord. But many of us believe He is Lord only to a point. Some acknowledge, as an example, that Yeshua provides salvation — that Yeshua is the mere provider of salvation — but they refuse to recognise that Yeshua IS actually the Saviour of humankind! He exists, according to them, to only offer man salvation. This is a view which is clearly Arminian, but not biblical.
Two Gods in Conflict, or One God Supreme?
There is a simple way of discovering if we truly believe that Yeshua is Lord and that God is sovereign. It is simply to ask yourself this question: ‘Do I really believe there is a war going on between God and Satan?’ Our response to this question will very readily determine the authenticity and orthodoxy of our faith. The same question can be rephrased in a number of ways. ‘Is Satan the enemy of God?’ Or, ‘Is Satan winning a great battle over souls?’ Again: ‘Is there some enormous conflict — indeed a “great controversy” — between ‘Christ’ and the Devil?’ Well, what do you think? Is Satan some clever, diabolical hellish Beast against whom Yeshua must continually wage hostilities? The popular portrayal of a heartbroken Yeshua as begging people to accept Him is not the way the biblical revelation describes the Lord. Its an ugly scenario of Yeshua, with an obviously diminished emotional stability, crying out: “Oh, please, pleeeeease — won’t you come to meeeeee?” This pornographic picture of Yeshua on His knees sobbing, and wheezingly imploring billions of lost souls not to self-destruct in the fires of hell, but to accept Him as Saviour by exercising their “free will”, is altogether hideous in the extreme. The same concept has Satan giggling hysterically in sheer delight, rubbing his evil hands together maliciously, at humankind’s rejection of the Redeemer.
Of course, we are putting it crudely, but this is essentially a common belief in some of the churches of this world. It takes little mental acumen to realise that if we assent to such myths we are in effect systematically reducing the sovereignty of the Almighty transcendent God! Of course, you may object and that is your privilege and your right. You may wish to decry such a stand as the BRI/IMCF has taken, and say that this is merely our pious opinion concerning today’s “Christian” theological vagrancy. But we are not alone in our stand. Beloved pastor and internationally renowned Bible expositor, the late Arthur W. Pink, painfully observed that within the present gross confusion of Christian thought “error abounds on every side…practical godliness is at a low ebb…worldliness has devitalised many churches” and further, he deplores that while “few see how bad things are, few perceive that things are rotten to the very foundation” (Pink,
Gleanings in the Godhead, 1975,176,177). Carl F.H. Henry would agree with Pink, adding that modern Christians are beset by shallow doctrinal logic, diluting the rich biblically-based Judeao-Christian heritage (Quest for Reality, 1973,156). Indeed, even the brilliant philosopher Jacques Ellul has argued convincingly that the Christian church has succeeded in perverting the original gospel message and, while failing to eliminate pagan practices and beliefs, has in fact set up its own religious forms thus resacralising the world (See J. Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity, 1986, tr. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley).
Perhaps our reticence in accepting the unqualified Lordship of Mashiach is due to the fact that we have found it difficult to rescue glory for God out of the tragedies of life. What we see around us is sorrow on a monumental scale. The only way we can seemingly cope with the apparent “hands-off” policy of God is to systematically reduce His “governance” of the universe to “allowing” this and “permitting” that, while we feverishly construct a theological duality of gods in constant conflict with one another — the “Good God” versus the “Bad god” (Satan). True, we do read that the devil is the great Adversary of the Messianic Community of God (1 Pet 5.8). But God is ever and always supreme and unchallengeable in His affairs with men and angels. God is Infinite Intelligence, unrivalled in majesty, unlimited in power — and unaffected by anything outside of His love. Further, God chooses according to His own indomitable will to do solely as He pleases, when He pleases, always as He pleases. After all, God is transcendent. That’s what makes God, God! The Psalmist says that God’s kingdom rules over all (Ps 103.19). Ezra tells us that this power extends even over all the kingdoms on earth (2 Chron 20.6 quoting Jehoshaphat). The wisest man who ever lived (next to Yeshua) declared that God turns the heart of a king wherever He wishes (Prov 21.1). Paul readily informs us that God accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His own will (Eph 1.11). This teaching is not some gross hyper-Calvinism! It is the plain teaching of the Bible. Certainly the primitive ekklesia was not so primitive in it’s comprehension that the very will of God was seen in the horrible death of the Lord Yeshua on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth. The will of God in the death of haMashiach was seen to be an essential factor of the gospel (Acts 4.24-28). Precisely because of the control of God the most evil and accursed deed in history became the very heart of God’s redemptive plan and the supreme Source of spiritual blessing to humankind.
If Paul understood anything about the Infinite Intelligence we worship it was that He is presently concerned with the outworking of an awesome purpose here below. To the Messianic Community generally Paul wrote that God “is working all things after the counsel and the design of His own will” (Eph 1.11b). Notice He operates all things according to His
will (not merely His “wish” or “desire”). Brethren and friends of the BRI/IMCF, that’s ALL things and not just “some” things, or “most” things, or only “good” things. We cannot profess to completely understand or appreciate the utilisation of evil in the plan of God, but we all need to hang faithfully onto the things that the Holy Spirit has revealed to us in the pages of God’s inspired Word. After all, is it not written “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor 2.9). But why always stop there? In Paul’s very next breath he adds, “But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit” (2.10). It becomes apparent that so few of the truly converted have ever eaten a balanced diet which the Spirit has given them from the biblical revelation, for so few have ever read the entire Bible from cover to cover.
Satan — the Servant of God
We have read that the apostle Peter considered Satan to be the arch enemy of God’s people, and he most assuredly is (1 Pet 5.8). As a roaring lion he is constantly prowling about, seeking those he may devour. The roar of Satan in the Greek vocalises the wild howl of a beast gripped in fierce hunger (See Kenneth Wuest translation).
- Satan has worked since the dawn of Creation to overthrow those who would serve the Lord.
- He worked unceasingly to overthrow Adam and Eve. He succeeded.
- He sought time and again to overthrow the nation of God, Israel. He succeeded as many times as he tried.
- In NT times he wrought havoc upon the Christian Community and opposed the Christian witness.
- He conquered Ananias.
- He destroyed Sapphira.
- He misguided Alexander the coppersmith.
- And he pulled the rug from under the feet of Hymanaeus.
- He captured Demas, minister of the apostle Paul, and turned his heart away from God by inciting him to love this present evil world.
All power, authority and control, said Yeshua, is given unto me. Again, do we really believe this statement of Our Lord? Do we readily acknowledge God’s sovereignty? Or do we believe only up to a point? Do we truly grasp that even Satan is ultimately obedient to the Word of the LORD? Have we read in the Scriptures where evil spirits actually proceed from the presence of the Lord — from the holy environs of the Divine — and not from hell (1 Sam 16.14-16,23; 18.10; 19.9 etc)? True, it is sometimes highly difficult to believe it, but as forthright as God’s Word is the Bible declares that even Satan is the servant of a holy God. Satan does not have an independence apart from God — he is not an independent creature — for he did not create himself. He is not the enemy of God. He is never portrayed in the Bible as the enemy of God. But he is our enemy and is pledged to test our character, and the fibre and the strength of our relationship with the Lord (as well as with each other). That’s his purpose. Opposition to the people of God in order for us to build and strengthen spiritual character, until we come into the actual character-Image of Mashiach as He is the reflection of Deity. Otherwise if God is not in supreme control sovereignty loses any meaning. We can’t have it both ways!
What Satan does best is ruin character. But he is not permitted to steal salvation away from those for whom Mashiach died. Like his dealings with the suffering Job, he can go so far but no further.
The Trials of Job
Job was a servant of God. He lived in a region called “Uz” (Job 1.1). The Scripture tells us he was wholehearted in his dedication to the Lord, and that he was upright, a God-fearing man who turned away from every evil (same verse). His life was suddenly and abruptly turned upside down in a series of terrible trials including tribal invasion of his political and economic region of power, accompanied with a cataclysm of enormous natural disasters. From the ancient book of Job man has struggled to find answers to the age-old question of the purposes of evil in the life of godly obedience.
But while the book of Job answers many of the questions raised by ecclesiastical authorities and ordinary people alike, most fail to realise the obvious point the story makes about tragedy in the godly life. And that point is that God is God and He can do anything in the heavens or on earth that He desires. For this is what being God is all about. From the start of the book of Job to its enigmatic conclusion the Sovereignty of God is taught throughout. But carnal man will not have it so! Man does not want to have a God who is God. Rather, disobedient man arrogantly declares, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice?” (Ex 5.2). Religious man is no different. In his pious, but unregenerate state, he thumbs his nose at the transcendent Deity and snides, “Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of your ways. What is the Almighty that we should serve [Hebrew: be in subjection to] him?” (Job 21.14,15). Again, “Our lips are our own! Who is lord over us?” (Ps 12.4). The entire pattern of pretentious man’s life is summed up in the words of wilful rejection, “I will not have this man to reign over me” (see Lk 19.14). But the sacred Scripture cries aloud: “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all…And thou reignest over all” (1 Chron 29.11,12). Note the tense concerning the reign of God. “And thou reignest” —now. But again, “O LORD God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? and in your hand is there not power and might, so that NONE is able to withstand you?” (2 Chron 20.6). None can withstand God? Not even the Dark Lord? Especially not the Dark Lord!
The simple truth is that carnal, ordinary man basically desires to have a God who is anything but Self-sufficient, omni-potent, omniscient and omnipresent, and one who is essentially made in man’s image. That would suit man much better. He would not have to submit to such a god as this. This “God” — this “Christ” — would be “Saviour” without the necessity of first being “Lord.” But everywhere in the NT Scriptures where the terms “Saviour” and “Lord” appear together, the phrase invariably appears as “Lord and Saviour.” The phrase never appears as “Saviour and Lord.” Look up any concordance for the proof. Yeshua becomes authentic Saviour, in a complete sense, of none until the heart of man receives Him unreservedly as LORD.
True, Messiah first initially saves then makes it known to man who it was that saved Him. That is Grace. Messiah first draws man to Himself and grants repentance to life, converts his will, fills his heart to overflowing with forgiveness and grace in the power of the Sovereign Holy Spirit. And man then responds to Mashiach denouncing all other lords over his life, for the Spirit responds back to God within — and not apart from — man’s will. Immediately upon so great a salvation, the Holy Spirit — who has come to earth to glorify the Mashiach — imprints upon the heart of the believer the claims of Messiah’s Lordship (Lk 14.26-33).
As slaves of Messiah, he demands (and ought to receive) our gratitude in the form of our heart-felt obedience. It is a whole, entire Messiah who must be received — as both Lord and Saviour — or none at all. This is the reason man is saved in three stages. There is an initial salvation. Man’s salvation is then continually maintained throughout his Christian experience of life. Finally, at Messiah’s coming, regenerate man is then changed from flesh into spirit. Those believer’s who have ‘trusted’ in Him only as “Christ the Saviour” are as deceived as the pagan, uncivilised, animistic Neanderthals, whose ideas evolved from their futile attempts to grope their way out of the primordial mists of an ancient barbaric antiquity.
As for Job, the Scripture informs us of dealings which went on in heaven that would ultimately cost poor Job everything he had and everything he was. [Actually, many have wondered if Job was a real figure — whether he actually lived — or whether his existence merely took the form of poetic license. The truth of the matter is that Job was not only an historical personage, but his true identity seems to have been documented in ancient records that ought to be reconsidered by modern historians.]
The Bible informs us that “there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them” (Job 1.6). Here was an official assembly (before the presence of the LORD) of all the
sons — the very creations of God — and Satan (as one of the creations of God) also presented himself to God. And God politely opens a conversation with the devil. Interestingly the devil responds in kind, very politely. Then God sets Satan up. “Have you considered my servant, Job?” asks the LORD. What a set up! Notice that God does not agree with the teaching of some segments of modern churchianity concerning Job. Their teaching claims that Job was really a sinner. They claim that Job was an unrighteous man, that he was unholy, that he was guilty of self-righteousness. But God’s assessment of Job’s character defies our modern would-be-if-they-could-be theologians. In God’s own words Job was “an honest man of integrity, upright, a man who reveres God and turns away from evil” (Job 1.8 Hebrew). The LXX substant-ially agrees calling Job a man “unblameable, true, pious, abstaining from everything evil.” So conscious of reverential praise and worship was this “servant of God” he even sacrificed to the Lord in case any of his children were in any way disobedient. This was a regular occurrence in his life (1.5). Of course, as a human Job must have had sinful dispositions. But the record from the Holy Spirit demands that we recognise that he was not considered a sinner in the general sense of comparison with other men. He was quite a remarkable man (1.22; 2.10 etc). This is what the record in the biblical revelation flatly states.
So, according to the inspired revelation, Satan comes into the very holy presence of Deity (he is summoned along with the other creations of God) and Job’s fate is worked out in the heavenlies, apart from Job’s awareness, cognisance, approval or disapproval. Satan responds to God’s set-up and then proceeds to challenge God in relation to the unwavering faith of Job. To Satan’s sneer, “Can Job’s piety survive without the prosperity that comes from the LORD?” (1.9,11) God then — at that time, and not before — hands over his trustworthy servant Job to the Lord of Darkness. “All that he has is within your power, but do not terminate his life” (1.12). Go so far, Satan, but no further. God decrees. Satan obeys God, his Master. Prosperity is taken away from Job, his children are slaughtered, a meteorite shower destroys 7000 sheep burning them to a crisp, and general social unrest and civil strife erupts within his kingdom as a series of sudden hostile tribal invasions of his homeland occurs. One minute the man Job wallowed in abundant security and peace. The next minute Job found his life reduced to a chaotic shambles. The man of God trembles, “I fear a fear for it comes upon me. And that I dread continually comes unto me [the Hebrew here gives a continual sense, therefore better ‘I am in the process of dreading’] (Job 3.25 Hebrew). Again note that the righteous Job is describing his experience after his troubles began. Each catastrophic occurrence increases his fear of further trouble, and in each case further trouble comes.
The Scripture plainly shows that God sent His servant Job the troubles and travail which he experienced, and God used Satan as his instrument to deliver this tribulation to this eastern king. It is therefore Scripturally unsound, and a total fabrication to insist (as do some “prosperity-Gospel” segments of the Protestant faith) that these shocking events came upon Job simply because he was fear-filled (which of course the internal evidence of the book of Job, in the Hebrew language, negates!). In fact the common AV rendering, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me” (1.25 KJV) is a woeful mistranslation as we have already perceived from the inspired Hebrew text.
The lesson of Job speaks loudly. God is creating character in his people and will pull out all the stops to develop that character if need be. Job’s character was tested in a fiery fashion, not unlike what some of God’s people have gone through in exceptional ways all through the pages of history. Despite all that went wrong in Job’s life, the purpose of God was absolutely assured. Satan’s purpose in Job’s life, and Satan’s purpose in our lives, is to test that character. Let me illustrate this more fully.
David’s Sin in Numbering Israel
Remember King David’s sin in “numbering the warriors of Israel”? As a direct result of David’s sin 70,000 Israelites perished in a plague. The entire account is located in 1 Chronicles 21 with parallel information found in 1 Samuel 24. How many books written by Gentile scholars have unequivocally claimed that the sin of royal David was the actual numbering of the troops of Israel and Judah? And yet nothing could be further from the truth. In the book of Exodus we read that whenever a census of the warriors was taken every adult Israelite was to pay a “ransom” of a half shekel (Ex 30.12-16). This word “ransom” occurs three times in the Torah and in each occasion it refers to the money paid by one who is guilty of taking human life in circumstances that do not constitute murder. The owner of an ox, for instance, that had killed a man after the owner had received due warning that the animal was dangerous, was charged with the death of a man; but as the crime was not intentional, he was permitted to pay a ransom. Such a ransom was forbidden in the case of deliberate murder. The soldier who is ready to march into battle is in the eyes of heaven a potential taker of life, though not a deliberate murderer. Hence he requires a ransom for his life.
But David was panicked by circumstances and rushed impetuously into a census before the required payment of the sacred half shekel was made. Indeed, search the texts and we fail to even find mention of this payment. This indicates that payment wasn’t made, and God’s claim was not met.
Actually, many scholars have pondered this transgression of King David, wondering why he felt so anxious about marshalling 1.6 million troops of Israel and Judah into a vast military program. We can tenuously reconstruct the approximate dating of this period to contemporary Greek history. In 1181 the Trojans were crushed in their first war against the Greeks but Troy was recaptured by Brutus in 1149. In that same year Brutus of Troy came to Britain with his troops, in alliance with Assyria. The king of Britain at this time was a descendent of Esau (Hercules) called Ebranck (Ebraucus). This conqueror in the same year 1149 made an alliance with the king of Italy, proceeded to occupy the entirety of Gaul and much of Germany and with the Trojan-Assyrian Axis threatened to invade the eastern Mediterranean. If this reconstruction is correct (and some people certainly have expressed their doubts) and we are completely honest about it, if we had been in David’s shoes we very likely would also have been rushed into a census, taking the urgent step to prepare Israel for war. Nevertheless, whatever the reason for David’s census, in the eyes of God David sinned and thousands as a result perished.
Concerning this period it is written, “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go! Number Israel and Judah!” (2 Sam 24.1). But when we consider the parallel account in 1 Chronicles 21.1 we read there, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” Thus we find it was Satan, not God, who was the actual instigator of the temptation. The apostle Ya’akov (James) stated authoritatively that God tempts no man (Jam 1.13). Once we come to properly understand the teaching of the sovereignty of God, we can recognise that God decrees, and Satan triumphantly plays the Tempter. This is what he does best with his life!
The Attraction of the Cross
The entire teaching of the biblical revelation is that Yeshua is Lord, and that God is truly sovereign. If this is not so our salvation is based on a pipe-dream, pleasant enough in an ethereal sense but of no real substance. The fact is that even Our Blessed Lord himself came to this planet to die for the sins of the world, not as a contingency plan as the result of some sin that should never have happened, but as a direct result of fulfilling His own purpose, plan and intent. This is the plain teaching (doctrine) of the Word of God and yet it is largely ignored by the historic Gentile churches of our present religious system. The apostle Kefah (Peter) had this to say about the cross of Messiah:
“[Yeshu haMashiach] being delivered [to Golgoleth] according to the definite and fixed purpose, settled plan and fore-knowledge of God, and actually through the agency of those not bound by the Torah, you nailed him up to a tree and killed him!” (Acts 2.23 literal Greek).
Paul is very perceptive in his discussion of the Gospel. Part of the message of the Gospel concerns the Lordship of Yeshua (2 Cor 4.4,5). The churches appreciate that Yeshua is Saviour. They understand that Yeshua is Redeemer. Some even comprehend that Yeshua is Messiah. But so few recognise that Yeshua is LORD. To be LORD in the Jewish thoughtform is to be equated with being SUBJECTOR. But many really don’t want Yeshua to be the Subjector, truly LORD. There is a major difference between accepting Messiah’s Deity and surrendering to His undisputed Lordship. Recognising that Yeshua is God’s Son and the actual Creator of the heavens and the earth is no proof of conversion. The demonic powers owned Messiah as “Son of God” (Mt 8.29). Yeshua is first presented to us by Matthew Levi as “Yeshua haMashiach,  the son of David,  the son of Abraham” (Mt 1.1). “Son of David” pericopes to the kingdom Throne, emphasising the sceptre of Messiah’s authority. Notice that “son of David” comes before “son of Abraham.” But while most fail to differentiate the terminology the Bible is explicitly concerned about Messiah’s Lordship (Lk 1.46,47; 1 Pet 3.15 RV; 2 Pet 1.11; 2.20; 3.18; Acts 2.21,36; 5.14,31; 9.35,42; 10.36; 11.23,24; 13.12; 14.23; 15.17; 16.32; 18.8). It is predicted that some of the representatives of these same churches will come before Our Lord on the Last Day and plea, “Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? And in your name exorcise demons? And in your name perform innumerable, mighty miracles?” And I will tell them to their face, “I never knew you! Depart from me….” (Mt 7.22,23).
Yes, they call Yeshua Lord, they mouth that Yeshua is Lord, and they praise, worship and extol Him as Lord. They produce miracles in their belief of His “Lordship.” But He does not RULE them as LORD (Mt 7.23b). He does not even recognise them as His servants. He doesn’t claim, “I knew you once.” He knows nothing of them in a spiritual sense. But David (called, to the embarrassment of some, “a man after God’s own heart” in 1 Sam 13.14 cf Acts 13.22) had the traumatic experience of realising to what lengths the LORD would go in directing Satan to test David’s character-obedience to the Torah. To test one man’s faithfulness Satan (the god of this world) apparently amassed an international alliance in the form of a Trojan/Briton/Assyrian Axis that threatened the stability of the entire eastern Mediterranean (including the empire of David). And David fell flat on his face.
At least David was not obsessed with prophesying (although he was a prophet), nor was he intrigued with performing mighty miracles (although his life was filled to overflowing with miracles). Rather, David’s whole life is a study in brokenness, a spirit of Messiah-like humility in the form of “a man after the very heart of God.”
All Creation — A Testimony to Sovereignty
Christians today need to come to realise, understand, and have a lasting cognisance of the reality of the Lordship of
Mashiach and the sovereignty of God, under the provision of free will as a saved people. Until we do we will never really grasp any of the great doctrinal truths of His holy Word. This is because sovereignty underlies all of the knowledge of the Lord.
Yeshua is Lord (Mt 28.18). Yeshua is Lord over disease (Mt 8.5-13). Yeshua is Lord over the elements (Mt 14.24-33). Yeshua is Lord over death and the grave (Jn 11.32,25,26). Yeshua is Lord over the forces of darkness (Mk 1.21-27). In light of such knowledge why do we seek for demons around each corner, and under our beds at night? Why are some Christians so preoccupied with demons? The central theologies of some churches and denominations betrays an unhealthy interest, not in the Lordship of Mashiach (with which we ought to be passionately consumed), but in the domains of a conquered foe (Satan) in an occupied territory (our planet). We need not live in terror of the principle of evil. Rather, the negative elemental spirits live in terror of the Ground of All Being that activated their reality and who can just as simply deactivate their reality.
Yaakov tells us with some assurance, “You believe that God is One?” [He is referring to Deut 6.4 — the Sh’ma.] “You do well! So do the demons believe, and shudder in terror and horror such as make a man’s hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin” (James 2.19 Greek).
It never ceases to amaze me that created intelligences devoid of the Spirit of God can readily recognise the Lordship of Mashiach, yet those in the household of “faith” in whom the Spirit of Mashiach demands healthy expression, fail so often to grasp such awesome Omnipotence.
Part of the Gospel (which simply means “good news” or “glad tidings”) is the proclamation that this Yeshua who has authority over disease, the natural elements, death and the grave, and the forces of darkness is Lord over ALL things on this earth and in the vast universal ocean beyond. Spiralling galaxies and their myriad star systems, with their hundreds of billions of planets, endlessly travelling at unbelievable speeds in a cyclical motion through our universe — all of this has come under His perfect, sovereign, efficacious, salvific will (Eph 1.9-11; Col 1.16-20). The gospel Rav Shaul preaches, he reminds the Corinthian Christians, was “of Yeshua haMashich AS LORD” (2 Cor 4.4,5 cf Rom 10.8-16).
God’s plan is ever, only and always a plan of salvation. Indeed, the Bible explains that Yeshua was slain from eternity, long before any planet Earth even existed. But before one can experience salvation one must of necessity recognise a need for salvation. In other words, and put somewhat crudely, you have to be lost before you can be found. You have to be dead before you can be given life. You must be a slave before you can be free. You must be in need of redemption prior to redemption. Paul grasped this understanding fully. He wrote, “For the eager longing and earnest expectation of the creation waits for the revelation (revealing and manifestation) of the sons of God” (Romans 8.19-23). That will be at the Advent of Our Lord. But can we accept his next statement? “For the creation was made subject to corruption, decay and vanity — but NOT WILLINGLY — but by REASON.”
Does Paul say the creation was made this way “by sin”? No, he most certainly doesn’t. “By choice”? No, the creation wasn’t “willing” to go along with it for no free choice was permitted. He writes “by reason.” Continuing, “by REASON of Him who has subjected the same in hope. Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage and slavery of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God. For we know that the entire creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only the creation, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the Sonship, the deliverance and redemption of our body.”
What an astounding revelation! Paul tells us that the entire creation — the world as it is now — entered a condition of slavery, the bondage of decay, at the hands of God as the Subjector. He adds that it had absolutely no say in the matter. “Not willingly!” But according to the actual “reason” or “reasoning” of God.
Please therefore turn to the book of Genesis.
“And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day you eat thereof dying you shall die” (Gen 2.15-17).
God commands Adam. He does not command Eve because Eve did not then exist. Eve is created after the command to Adam (2.18). Be that as it may, let us for a moment reflect on the traditional view of the “Fall.”
The LORD GOD — Victim of Circumstances?
The traditional view of the Fall goes something like the following.
Once upon a time God had a perfect universe, and certainly a perfect Earth. God made a perfect man and woman living perfectly happily in a perfect garden environment surrounded by perfect vegetarian creatures of the animal kingdom. They enjoyed a perfect lifestyle of trimming the hedges and naming all the little and big animals in the enclosure but one day this snake appeared up an apple tree and offered Eve one of the apples. Well, she started to chew into it and it tasted so good she offered what was left to Adam and he got high from it too.
The only trouble was that God told Eve a little earlier not to eat from that particular tree from which the apple came. But Adam ate it all up and committed sin which spoilt God’s perfect sinless plan. Nothing was perfect anymore. Even all the animals in the garden were effected by their sin — they turned ferocious. Spiders suddenly discovered an uncanny “hey-presto” ability to weave webs ex-nihilo (out of nothing) and to catch insects. Ants found it difficult to manoeuvre safely anymore out from under the human’s feet. In the oceans sharks sprang monstrous, hideous teeth suitable for sawing their prey apart. Microbiological organisms began to feed on each other. Before this there was no such thing as “hunger.” Even the bacteria in Adam’s bowel began to suddenly process the meals he had eaten prior to that apple. In a word, death has been introduced into the world.
God was mortified that His plan had been tampered with and that His peaceful tranquillity had been shattered. Ah! But God being a wise God decided then and there on a contingency plan. He would “clean house” by driving these humans, these two bungling clods of red clay, out of Eden and away from Him. He would curse them for the rest of their lives. He would cut them off from Him. Not only this, He would really show them “what for” by sentencing them to the fires of hell for all eternity to writhe in everlasting horror and torment. They would soon learn how naughty it was to have eaten that little apple. And they would have learned their lesson well…but it would be too late, of course, for them to do anything about it. They were FINISHED. Of course this would all be to God’s greater glory, you understand. The angels would all see this and perhaps chant a little longer and a little louder, ‘Glory, glory, glory, to the Lord God Sort-of-Almighty…” This would placate God’s bruised ego and He would start to feel a little better as a result. Tranquillity would return, and all would be well again.
Once God began to get His act together again and could think a little more clearly He began to realise that it wouldn’t really be fair to also condemn all Adam’s descendants because of what their original parents did, so the message was made available to them that if any of them wanted to get back on friendly terms with God they could do so by accepting His addendum to His Wonderful Contingency Plan — they could be saved by His own death as the Supreme Victim of Circumstances Beyond His Control, this Victim of a horrible accident.
Of course, this has been penned with tongue in cheek. But all this drivel and slobberdrool is what the vast overwhelming majority of Christians (of all persuasions) really believe. They believe it because they have been taught it. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Another Look At Eden
Consider these following points concerning the story we have just recited about Man’s “Fall.”
POINT ONE God has a purpose and a plan for humankind. Even carnal minded men acknowledge this fact. Winston Churchill once declared, “There is a great purpose being worked out here below.” We have seen from Paul’s own writings that God is actively engaged in producing this plan according to His own endeavour (Eph 1.9-12). Now if God is truly transcendent and is not subject in any way to accident and circumstance, and He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, and always as He pleases, and that He is self-contained, self-sufficient, in need of nothing — giving to all and enriched by none — then what we see around us is the universe unfolding as it should. The entire universe, planet Earth included! True enough, the third rock from the Sun is in rebellion against it’s Maker, but this IS the plan of God. What we see IS the outworking of that same plan and purpose of God.
Reader, we cannot have it both ways. God is either sovereign and LORD, or He is a caricature of the local village idiot. The doctrine of the Lord’s absolute sovereignty is the truth of the biblical revelation, but most believers are woefully ignorant of this fact. Some Christians even believe that that our “free will” can outwit the Lord or even cause God’s intentions to fail. But man cannot override, upstage, or overturn the Lord’s intentions. Paul was very adamant about this particular assessment (Rom 9.19). God is most certainly not made in man’s image. “You thought that I was altogether such a one as yourself,” says the Lord God to ancient Israel (Ps 50.21).
POINT TWO The Scripture informs us that the Ground of All Being created all things by Yeshua Messiah, the logos
(Jn 1.1-3,10; Col 1.14-17; Heb 1.2) and that all things came forth out of God. “For out of Him and through Him, and for Him, are all things” (Rom 11.36). This truth was recognised by all Jewish rabbis of all sects in the time of Yeshua, yet sadly it has been replaced in Christian circles by a doctrine of creation out of nothing, an idea which is absurd. There can be nothing that exists apart from God. All things came forth out of God. All things — not just some things, not just good
POINT THREE Needless to say the fruit of which our first parents partook was not an apple. Many ancient nations have their own accounts about the so-called “Fall” of man. The Greeks had their legends of the Golden Apples of the Hesperides and this myth is known to have influenced Anglo-Saxon traditions of the Fall. The “fruit” (if we are to take the Genesis story literally) was very likely the Sacred Mushroom — the Amanita muscaria. A connection between the powerful hallucinogenic Sacred Mushroom and serpents was made by Pliny: “If the hole of a serpent has been near the [Sacred] mushroom, or should a serpent have breathed on it as it first opened, its kinship to poisons makes it capable of absorbing the venom. So it would not be well to eat mushrooms until the serpent has begun to hibernate.” Eve is enticed by the serpent who enchants her with the possibility of mind enhancement from partaking of the phallic shaped ‘fruit’ with the glowing red glans, “You shall be as gods [elohim] knowing good and evil” (Gen 3.4). As late as the 13th Century this tradition was faithfully maintained by certain Christians as we can well attest from the ruins of a church wall in Plain-courault in France. There we can behold a painting of a voluptuous Eve clutching her swollen belly, standing nearby a serpent which is entwined about a curious fungus — the Amanita muscaria. Gordon Wasson in his detailed examination of the ancient Vedic hymns established without any doubt whatsoever that Amanita muscaria was the fabled “food of the gods” of India — soma.
POINT FOUR The Lord God does not have contingency plans. Even the Anglican Prayer Book recognises that the Messiah was “Saviour from eternity.” Messiah was not a Saviour from the “Fall.” If this is so, and it is, evil was a necessary part of God’s plan from “eternity” — from “before” (if we can use such an expression) the emergence of spacetime. God was either in total control of His own plan and thus the destiny of this planet and its inhabitants, or He wasn’t. He is either LORD or the fast fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat. It doesn’t take much mental acumen to realise that without sin there would be no Saviour. We need to change our perception concerning God’s “foreknowledge.” God does not look into some future in his mind’s eye and thus safely predict what is eventually coming to pass. He who inhabits eternity (Isa 57.15), where yesterday, today and tomorrow all exist in the eternal “present,” in this sense is the Totality. A God who safely predicts because He has, like His creation, a past, present and future possesses no sovereignty, none at all.
POINT FIVE Adam and Eve were not expelled from Eden without a knowledge of God’s continual leading and presence. In fact, the record states in the Hebrew language that even the ground was cursed, not merely because of them (their sin), but “for their sakes” (Gen 3.17 Hebrew). The earth was cursed for their benefit, and for the profit of the descendants of our first parents. Certainly God had not left them alone. After their sin God clothes them (Gen 3.21) and the Scripture emphatically insists that when Eve brought forth her first child, outside Eden, she recognises that he had been given to her by her Lord (Gen 4.1). Eve’s cry was at once a cry of faith and it was based entirely on the prophetic Word — that she would bring forth her Messiah who would reverse the effects of Eden and yet grant a salvation to her (Gen 3.15). Eve was still quite evidentially still worshiping her Lord, not Satan. And as far as Adam is concerned, we have the testimony of Josephus, based on oral tradition, that he was granted the spirit of prophecy from God “that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water” (Josephus Flavius, Antiquities, 1,11,3).
It would do us all well to realise, once and for all, that Adam was a man without a past, devoid of all experience which bequeaths to each of us our creative and/or intelligent thought processes. Adam was not in the least self-reflective, as we are, and being self-reflective is what makes a man a man. Being self-reflective involves a past. Adam in Eden was clearly at a distinct disadvantage. It is not over, even now, for Adam and Eve for God’s judgments are righteous and sound and all factors in our decision making processes are taken into account. The pressures brought to bear on Adam and Eve were fully in the forefront of the mind of God.
POINT SIX God is not the author of confusion, at least in the congregations of God (1 Cor 14.33). It follows that if any confusion exists as to the order of things in this universe it exists only in the heads of those who refuse to accept what they read in their own Bibles. This is not an unkind statement. It is a defense of the Faith. There may at times appear to be disorder and chaos (even within our own galaxy), but if it is there it is there according to God’s knowledge, direction and acceptance. Everything runs according to order, system, planning — extensive, complicated planning. All in creation is actually interlinked, interrelated — even the devil’s disobedience. For, if we accept that what we see around us IS the plan of God, and God is not subject to accident, then Satan the devil would be disobeying the sovereign LORD if he obeyed the principles of Torah. Indeed, the holy Scripture declares that Satan was a destroyer, a man-killer, from the very beginning (Jn 8.44 Greek).
POINT SEVEN The apostle Paul said that when man ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that “sin entered into the world” (Rom 5.12). Sin made an entrance. The Greek indicates that sin, like an actor, was waiting his cue in the wings to enter the stage of the unfolding drama. Therefore we can say confidently that sin already existed long before Adam ate the fruit. Did you notice that evil also existed long before Adam transgressed? The tree which God planted in the Garden of Eden consisted of a knowledge of evil as well as good (Gen 2.16,17). Again, for the dull of hearing, the tree was planted by God, not by Satan. Yes, God was responsible for His plan, and Christians ought to hold God responsible.
Recall, too, that Satan was essentially telling Eve the truth when he deceived her! Deception can take many forms, not merely straight-all-out lies. He informed Eve that the Elohim were well aware that the humans would become like them in the comprehension of both good and evil (Gen 3.5) and the Elohim later confirmed that this was the case (3.22). Notice it now: “And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” Not only so, but earlier the Lord had warned Adam to not only “dress” the garden but to “keep it” (Gen 2.15). The Hebrew word “keep” (shamar) is nineteen times rendered “preserve,” four times it is translated “watch,” and on twelve occasions it is transcribed “take heed.” God was putting Adam on his guard to be on the lookout for an evil which already existed. We should not fail to consider, in this light, that the Lord had strategically placed the tree in the very midst of the garden thus creating an over-whelming curiosity in the human. This ought not surprise any of us for was it not the Holy Spirit himself that took Yeshua into the desert to be tempted of the devil (Mt 4.1)? Evil and sin had to have been in the forefront of the awesome Mind of Infinite Intelligence from the very start.
POINT EIGHT Adam and Eve were tempted to indulge themselves when God had emphatically forbidden them to do so. WHY? Why — how — if they were both created perfect to begin with, were they tempted? A temptation can only exist if the nature of the person being tempted can be tempted! Or have words finally lost their meaning, for the sake of our modern theology? [We might ask the obvious question at this point — Was Yeshua really tempted, or did he just pretend to appear
under such a stress?] So what was in our first parents that compelled them, nay, propelled them forward into transgress-ion? The Bible calls it “the flesh” (Gal 5.19; Rom 7.25; 8.5).
So here we have the Divine Record informing us that Adam and Eve were not created “perfect” in the first place. Proof of this can be seen when Eve — long before the first sin occurred — added to and embellished the Word of God (cf the words of the Lord to the first woman in Gen 2.17 with Eve’s statement to the Enchanter in Gen 3.3). Every rabbin worth his circumcision knows this to be true, but many Christian theologians bound by their Reformation traditions refuse to accept what the Scripture clearly tells them. Again, Jewish scholars know that the universe was created “very good” — which the King James Revisionists also knew — “very good” but not quite perfect.
There is another method to determine our position is the correct one, and that is according to biblical numerology. “Six” is that which is short of spiritual perfection. It is a number associated with man (Bullinger, Number in Scripture, 1894,150). As the creation of our planetary environs took six days to accomplish, so man — the pinnacle of God’s creative handiwork — was created on the sixth day of Creation week. But seven is God’s perfect number! Six is thus one short of perfection. Being a shy short of the numeral seven, six becomes man’s perfect number! Being created on day six, man was the reflection — the mirrored image — of God Himself. Reflections in a mirror may look like the substance but the reality is that a mirrored image leaves a lot to be desired. Its “very good” but not the perfect substance.
Now the “Enchanter” (which is really the term we ought to use from the Hebrew account of Eden, rather than “serpent” or “snake”) was granted access into the garden. Was this without God’s express will? Obviously not! Satan entered Eden with God’s express knowledge. God wasn’t asleep on the job. Satan was there in the garden of Eden actually doing his job. He was in God’s employ. He still is! God knew the Enchanter’s every move. He was in Eden with God’s express knowledge and will. If this is not the case then God’s sovereignty lies in complete disarray. God wanted Satan there. God
demanded Satan there. But there is more….
John tells us specifically in 1 John 2.16 that we humans are dominated by
- “the lust of the flesh.” Certainly the lust of the flesh applies to Eve for the Genesis account informs us that she saw that the fruit “was good for food” (Gen 3.6)
- “the lust of the eyes.” Eve had this problem too, for she considered that the fruit “was pleasant to the eyes” (Gen 3.6)
- “the pride of life.” Again, the tree is stated to have been comprised of the essentials of “evil” as well as “good” and as such “was desired to make one wise” (Gen 3.6). If this is not a factor in the “pride of life” then, pray tell, what is?
The circle of believers gathered around the apostle John certainly knew upon what Scripture he was basing his theology of human nature (1 Jn 2.16 cf Gen 3.1-7).
Adam decidedly did not “fall.” He was pushed. Adam’s transgression was an essential aspect of God’s plan of salvation. God’s plan IS a plan of salvation. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A plan is thought out ahead of time — meticulously — before it is executed, prior to its actual initiation. Sin is essential for salvation. No sin — no salvation. With planet Earth God has no other plan. Without sin there would be no Saviour, for there would be no contrast, and language loses all meaning. Without enslavement to bondage there would be no opportunity of freedom and liberty, forgiveness, or Grace. Without darkness no appreciation of Light. Apart from estrangement, no remote possibility of reconciliation. With-out the cross there would be no justification.
POINT NINE Many years ago I was walking past a “Church of Christ” building in a suburb of Sydney, Australia. I noticed the pastor placing a sign outside the building. It read, “All good things come from God the Father of lights.” I asked him if only good things come from the Lord or could we expect bad things too. His reaction was one of astonishment. He replied that good comes from God and evil only from the devil. He was emphatic. “Only good, nothing bad!” This was an interest-ing comment for my Bible seemed to say something very different. In the Bible we find that ignorance and indifference
come from God (Isa 29.10). The perverted spirit which caused the Egyptian people to err came from God (Isa 19.14). The filthy, lying spirit which came upon the prophets of Ahab was an absolute act of God (1 Kings 22.23 cf 2 Chron 18.20-22). Abraham’s trial, the fiery holocaust on the “cities of the plain,” the pestilence sent to punish King David, the evil spirit that dominated the tortured mind of Saul, even the horrendous bloody slaughter of the firstborn of Egypt, are all expressly stated to have originated with the Lord’s command. Anyone with a concordance of the Bible can look up every reference to “evil” and find out how many times God is shown to not only direct it upon people, lands, and empires but also actually causes it to come with accompanied affliction, pestilence and wanton destruction with misery, tragedy and despair.
In the spirit, Isaiah the prophet was inspired to write down a message given by the Lord God. This message contains a profound Self-revelation by Deity in which astonishing words are uttered. They are so overwhelmingly illuminating, so powerful and potent in their incontrovertible theopneustia that such a disclosure from such a terrible, Self-authenticating Life source as the Ground of All Being ought to have settled the question of the genesis of evil once and for all. The question surely is, Do we have ears to hear? Listen. For this is God speaking!
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, AND I CREATE EVIL; I the Lord do ALL these things” (Isa 45.7).
Christians, by and large influenced by a biblically bankrupt Roman Catholic heritage, have rejected the plain Scripture, and have opted for paganistic fables born in antiquity. The fact is the Hebrew word for “create” in Isaiah 45.7 is bara and here in this passage it means “to bring into existence” — the same meaning as in its use in the very beginning book of the Bible, Genesis (1.1). The Hebrew word for “evil” is ra. The word is variously rendered “calamity,” “adversity,” “bad,” “trouble,” “wretchedness,” “hurt,” “affliction,” “misery,” “sorrow,” “grief.” Ra is translated “evil” some 430 times. God, dear reader, is very much sovereign and Yeshua haMashiach (Yeshua the Messiah) has personally claimed to possess unrivalled cosmic Lordship!
Yet, precisely because of God’s authority, power, and control the most evil accursed deed in history became the heart of God’s redemptive purposes and the supreme source of blessing to humankind.
The Cross As Blessing
- The cross as blessing? Absolutely! Precisely is this the case as it expresses the sacrificial essence of the divine Mind.
- The cross demonstrates the divine Love.
- The cross reveals the pain of God’s Self-emptying cyclical Nature.
- The cross argues the divine estimate of human sin.
- The cross exhibits the divine Justice.
- The evil of the cross (or, bloodied Golgoleth tree) does all this on a human platform so that we can appreciate the mystery of God’s divine Will.
- For only in the cross is our greatest need dealt with, and God’s provision of Himself offered.
- The message of the cross is irresistibly attractive. Yeshua said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me” (Jn 12.32).
It appears that God very often works in what we would perceive to be a negative way in order to produce a totally contrary result. For instance, clay and saliva together should blind a man, but Mashiach uses it to give sight to the vision-impaired. Water should extinguish a fire, but the prophet Elijah pours water on a sacrifice and fills the surrounding trench with it, in order to make a sacrifice burn. It is the Lord who takes a few fishes and loaves and subtracts in order to multiply. The Messiah was an accountant’s nightmare! It is the vinedresser in the parable of John 15 who cuts the branches of the vine, not that he intends to destroy them, but rather to induce good growth. Evil in the plan, purpose and intent of the Subjector God is essential, for without it we would not appreciate the contrast of the good. In other words, were it not for the cross — the greatest evil of all — we would not experience the joy of the crown.
‘O Felix Culpa!’ went the Roman prayer. ‘O Blessed Fault! [Adam and Eve’s sin in Eden] without which we would not have known God’s Grace.’
Mashiach is the One who has created all powers. As Anglican columnist Dale Appleby has written of these powers, “They, and everything else were created FOR him. They exist for his glory and benefit. He is their Creator and Lord…Christ is the ruler over creation…that is the nub of it…That is what modern Christianity has missed. The supremacy belongs to Christ.”
The Very First Sermon in History
One can only try to imagine what it must have been like for Adam and Eve once they had sinned and brought on them-selves the curse of utter ruin and futility. Yet right at this sullen stricken hour of human history, etched in the tears of failure and horror, the authority and the power and the control of the LORD God blazons with the rich promise of Grace and salvation. Right at the starting point of human history, when sin spreads its ugly dark stain across the beauty of Eden, in this tragic scenario of a dejected humankind in alliance with the power of evil, the LORD God (who became Our Lord Yeshua) declares unceasing warfare NOT BETWEEN HIMSELF AND THE ENCHANTER but between man and Satan. “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman.” In the very first sermon ever given (and given indeed as a conse-quence of sin) the sovereign LORD predicts to the Enchanter the Advent of Yeshua Messiah and the final, ultimate solution to the power of sin. It is written,
“And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He [Messiah] shall bruise [crush] your head, and you shall bruise [scratch] his heel” (Gen 3.15).
Most Christians fail to realise that the Dark Lord is bound tightly in rein by God’s aeonian decree. Due to the nature of this decree, mankind cannot enter into a partnership with the Enchanter and his minions. Rather, man must be continually subject to the onslaught and harassing assaults of the devil and the principle of evil, writhing in agony under the burden of sin. It may seem stranger than fiction but it is a fact that every time the devil assails the character of one of God’s elect people (as he did with the patriarch Job, one of the most righteous men who ever lived) he is merely showing to the entire universe his utter subjection to the heavenly edict. For, all in creation is actually interlinked, interrelated, even Satan’s disobedience. If we accept what we see around us is the outworking of the plan of God’s salvation (and it is) and Our Lord is not subject to accident or happenstance (and He is not) then the Enchanter would be disobeying God if he even sought to obey the principles of truth. This cannot be emphasised strongly enough. God made Satan a man-killer, a Waster and Destroyer (Isa 54.16 JPS) from the very beginning. God created Satan. Satan did not create himself by somehow choos-ing to become the opposite of perfection (Jn 8.44 Greek).
Again, without sin there would be no Saviour. Without enslavement, no opportunity for release. Without repentance from sin, no forgiveness or mercy. Without the cross — that terrible evil — there would be no resurrection to new life. So Yeshua as sinless Man made Himself available to feel and to experience everything we experience yet without sin. He subjected Himself to sickness and disease. He subjected Himself to temptation. Recall that it is the Holy Spirit that leads Yeshua into the wilderness for His temptation (test) with Satan as the god of this world (Mt 4.1). For over 30 years Our Lord successfully brought every one of his thoughts into captivity to His Father’s will (2 Cor 10.5). We have an average of 50,000 thoughts per day. That’s an awful lot of overcoming on a daily basis. This is principally the reason Yeshua spent so much time alone in secret prayerful communication with God. As we read, “Sit here [my students] while I go and pray yonder” (Mt 26.36). Again, “[Yeshua] went up into a mountain apart to pray” (Mt 14.23). He went “into a solitary place and there prayed” (Mk 1.35). He entered by himself “into the wilderness and prayed” (Lk 5.16). “He went away and prayed”
(Mk 14.39). “He was alone praying” (Lk 9.18). The Subjector of all subjected Himself to His Father, even to the bloodied torture tree of Golgoleth.
Yeshua suffered all the Dark Lord could hurl at Him. Yet despite his frenzied attack of hatred and violence at the hands of the brutal Romans, the Ancient Serpent failed to destroy Him. All that Yeshua mentally, physically, psychologically and emotionally underwent at the rabid hands of the personification of Evil left Him, in the final outcome, with nothing more than a scratched heel. True, His scars last for an eternity but His love overcame all hatred and desire to retaliate in kind. Remember, this is the same Yeshua who declared that “all authority and power and control is given unto me in the heavens and on the earth.” Yeshua meant every single word of that statement. He said some incredible things. He had the audacity to state: “No one can take my life! I lay it down by myself. And I shall take it up again” (Jn 10.17,18). As far as dealing a mortal blow to Mashiach, this was something of which Satan was incapable. All the powers of hell were unleashed against Yeshua but the Word of God has told us, and that with authority, that Our Lord willingly embraced it all.
Mashiach in trauma.
This is what the Gospel is all about. The traumatised Messiah exalted, for the whole world. Satan could impose nothing on Yeshua. But it is important to recall that Yeshua did all this as “the seed of the woman.” He lived, suffered and died as a Man (Phil 2.6-11). Yeshua therefore became, in His own wonderful game of salvation, the first person in history to command, to compel, to require death to take hold of Him. Sacred “Victim” He was decidedly not! Death could not forcibly grasp the Saviour of humanity, even in His frailty. He is Lord. He is truly Lord indeed.
Sovereignty — Indignation and Triumph
Considering that Yeshu the Mashiach willingly yielded to the horror of crucifixion with its degrading, torturous death and then after three days deliberately shaking Himself free of the grave’s shackles with a shout of eternal triumph, can there be any limit to what Our Lord can do for us as we believe in Him? Is it any wonder Paul cried, “How immeasurably great is His power in us who believe. It is according to the working of His great might which He accomplished in Messiah Yeshua when He raised Him from the dead!” (Eph 1.18-21).
Rav Shaul tells us we shall share His glory (2 Cor 3.18). He promises that we shall be co-bodied with Messiah, and we already are by faith. We are joined to, and are one with, Messiah’s flesh, bone and Spirit (Eph 5.30; 1 Cor 6.17). Paul’s concern is that we must develop the fruits or characteristics of Messiah’s righteous character (Gal 5.22-25). Christians are also capable of manifesting the gifts which God has bestowed supernaturally at their conversion (1 Cor 12 & 14). Messiah’s mind indwells us (Phil 2.5). We are told by this same Paul that we are the Body of Mashiach (Col 1.18). Peter says we partake of the divine Nature (2 Pet 1.4). John informs us that we are already the sons of God (1 Jn 3.1-3 AV)
and the NT tells us explicitly that God has daughters at present also (2 Cor 6.18). The Word of God confidently assures us that nothing at all can separate us from the unconditional love of God which is in Yeshua Messiah (Rom 8.35-39). The plain truth is that as God’s sanctified, newly-begotten children our sins are forever forgiven, washed away eternally, and that in Yeshua we are found to be acceptable to God the Father. We are not found acceptable according to our own merits. In no way is this the case. Union with Mashiach in the Mind of God is central to the Gospel. The expressions “in Messiah,” “in Him,” and “in the Lord” appear in the text of Paul’s letters a total of 164 times. There appears to be an emphasis here which is not undue!
Because the Gentile Constantinian Church has both jettisoned and discarded its Jewish roots, it no longer comprehends the fundamental Jewish thoughtform in the acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty. God has been systematically reduced, in modern theological assessment, to the caricature of the local village idiot or at best, the proverbial absent-minded professor. God today in most churches is an outworn, tired old Grandfather figure, so aged and stultified that he is glued to his throne unable to even get up and stretch his aching, calcified joints. This is not sovereignty, not by a long shot. It is time to realise Mashiach is Lord and not only a triumphant Lord but a Lord who overcame, on our behalf, sin and death in His FURY. Notice, please reader, such a mighty revelation which has been in the Bible for well over two millennia, but remaining largely unnoticed to all but a few.
“I looked, but there was no one to help me. I was appalled that no one gave support, so my own arm worked salvation for me, AND MY OWN FURY — it sustained me!” (Isa 63.5).
The fury of Yeshua haMashiach! The fury of the Son of man! The fury of the Son of God! In His fury Our Lord achieved salvation for us as a Man without once granting to Satan an inch. That’s sovereignty! Even in the flesh. With immense indignation He set Himself against the ravaging assaults of hell and routed the armies of the Dark Lord. As a conseq-uence of Messiah’s victory, Satan may tempt us, but he can no longer compel us to follow him.
We are the offspring of the sovereign God, and Satan should have no place in our hearts. Modern Christianity has misunderstood this prime teaching concerning the Lordship of Mashiach. The BRI/IMCF has been raised up in this country to accomplish a final, and SHORT, Work of restoration — restoring Jewish thoughtform to the biblical revelation, among other things — and to share with other believers that the supremacy certainly does belong to the Messiah.
Come, join us, so that together we may be about Our Father’s Business