Prosperity, Posterity, Pilgrimage (pt 4)

Where is your sting

Posterity

This morning, I woke up thinking about death and dying.

The Psalmist lamented

Psalm 89:47-49(ESV)
47 Remember how short my time is!
For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
48 What man can live and never see death?
Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
49 Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
which by your faithfulness you swore to David?”

Such is the lot of man since Adam fell. And it is appointed for man to die … (Heb 9:27).

But “ God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, …” (1 Thes 5:9).

So in His Purpose in Christ, He rolled out His Plan, with a program beginning with a person to become a special people, assigned and allotted a place in the midst and center of three continents. This chosen people shall have a lasting posterity, and prosper and succeed till the Redeemer comes. He would ensure their posterity so that His Purpose, Plan and program be accomplished.

I have to be fair. With much fake news, fake adverts, etc swirling around, I need to check myself that my comments be factual, full (in context of complete scenario) and not flawed. At least, I must try.

Everyday is SONday

Last Sunday, I only saw a few wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Forever Young”. But every Sunday, I’ve seen more T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Everyday a SONday”! I really like that. They are worn by the hundreds of volunteers serving in the children’s Sunday School. The T-shirts I mentioned previously were merely a handful. Must not be hard on others and so full of my opinions!

I only know in part!

1 Cor 13 says “11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

I must seek to clarify and convince with truth rather than to condemn.

My 82 years old sister now is dying from acute kidney failure with many other underlying medical issues. But many days ago, she had asked Jesus to forgive her sins, and welcomed Him into her life! Last night, I told her, “don’t be afraid, Jesus is with you.” And everyday, as I take the communion on her behalf, God reminds me that Jesus has seen her, and had compassion on her. I pray frequently that Jesus shall envelope and embrace her with His peace that is beyond understanding. And she will soon put on a new body. Its all about spiritual and eternal posterity.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3 has been used by many to claim the blessings of Abraham.
“6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”

Perhaps the passage allude to Gentiles having faith like Abraham are being blessed with justification, righteousness and sonship as preached in the Gospel. In this context, I have to guard myself against eisegesis and not go beyond what is written (1 Cor 4:6), and presume that I inherit all the blessings of Abraham with earthly prosperity and posterity .

We get a clearer progressive picture of posterity when Christ said ““All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

In the OT – it was to be fruitful and multiply – the human race and then especially the Hebraic race.

In the NT – we are to go and make disciples – of all nations. Paul purposefully chose to be single, thus depriving himself of any posterity because he wanted spiritual posterity in the faith rather than in the flesh. The NT records for us believers in Christ multiplying.

Gods Design cover

In “God’s Design: A Focus on OT Theology”, Elmer Martens has this to say :

The covenant with Abraham is described in greater detail in Genesis 15 and 17 and is related to the initial blessing of a multitude of descendants promised to Abraham (Gen 12 : 2 ). Along with the promise of descendants, God promised Abraham territory. “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates . . .”’ (Gen 15 : 18 ). The triple promise of descendants, territory, and blessing is embraced in a covenant given to Abraham in his ninety-ninth year (Gen 17 : 1 –8 ). Reiterated to Isaac (Gen 26 : 3 ) and to Jacob (Gen 28 : 19 ; 35 : 9 –12 ), the promise continued to have a threefold gift of descendants, territory, and blessing. YHWH’s intention for his people is that they enjoy the good life. The words of the text are: “I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession” (Exod 6 : 8 ). The land was already earlier the object of promise, where it was the concrete part of God’s blessing for his people. Elsewhere the land is described as the land flowing with milk and honey (Exod 3 : 17 ), which is to say that it is a land in which life is pleasant and in which living is marked by abundance. The land comes before long to symbolize the life with YHWH in ideal conditions, a quality of life which might be characterized as the abundant life.

The land as the object of promise, where it was the concrete part of God’s blessing for his chosen people – to have descendants (posterity) and abundance (prosperity) – a promise not just to Abraham, but to the patriarchs so that they can be a viable and resilient nation and people to restore God’s Kingdom and usher in the King.

The divine image, values and character of Godhead was supposed to be reproduced by Adam and Eve. (Gen 1:26-28). And in Ex 32:13 – “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”

YHWH’s intention for his people is that they enjoy the good life. The words of the text are: “I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession” (Exod 6 : 8 ). The land was already earlier the object of promise, where it was the concrete part of God’s blessing for his people. Elsewhere the land is described as the land flowing with milk and honey (Exod 3 : 17 ), which is to say that it is a land in which life is pleasant and in which living is marked by abundance. The land comes before long to symbolize the life with YHWH in ideal conditions, a quality of life which might be characterized as the abundant life.

The covenant with Abraham plays a central role in the biblical storyline.
God promised Abraham offspring, land, and universal blessing. The promise to Abraham finds its culmination in Jesus Christ as the true son of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). All those who belong to Jesus Christ by faith are children of Abraham. The promise of land was fulfilled when Israel possessed Canaan under the leadership of Joshua and Solomon, yet Israel lost the land and went into exile because of sin. The promise of land was realized proleptically in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for his resurrection represents the arrival of the new creation, and it will find its final fulfillment in the new creation—the new temple over which God and the Lamb will reign (Rev. 21:1–22:5). The promise of universal blessing is fully and finally fulfilled in Jesus Christ through whom people from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation are included in Abraham’s family.

Pilgrimage, for this world is not my home. I must constantly remind myself – do not get entangled with earthly pursuits, or to think so much of health (for posterity or longevity of my tribe, perceiving sickness and death as something to be avoided) and wealth.

P/S.  Just received and read this re “proof-texting” on popular WOF verses :  

       http://theaquilareport.com/5-passages-pastor-wishes-youd-stop-taking-context/

Advertisements

Prosperity, Posterity, Pilgrimage (pt 2)

Paradise Lost, and God’s Plan to redeem, re-establish and restore His Kingdom. First part of the program is to own the land.

This post on Prosperity, Posterity and Pilgrimage is a work in progress.  I need to convince myself in these meditations, and validate my conclusions. However not having any theological training, I resort to reading excerpts of best books in particular fields, using “cheat sheets” from reviews, synopsis, sample chapters in Kindle, or the “Look Inside” feature in Amazon books.  While my reading / search might not be exhaustive, I believe my conclusions have been made with prayer and due diligence and would satisfy my personal quest for meaning and relevance, giving sense and convictions for my faith to “go into the deep”.

And behold, this morning as I was reviewing the previous posting, the term ‘Paradise Lost” crept in!  I wonder whether anyone really is familiar with this ancient ‘dinosaur’ classic? I googled. Wow – John Milton published his ten poems / books in 1674.  The first is about Satan, aided by Beelzebub and Mammon sabotaging and stealing man’s paradise.  The former commonly known as lord of the flies (carrier of diseases) and the latter associated with the greedy pursuit of gain or wealth.  Did Milton had insights then that the temptation of Eve had to do with health and wealth?

God’s purposes cannot be thwarted!  He would and could redeem the paradise that was lost when Adam sold out to satan, and restore His Kingdom!

His Plan began with a person, then a plot (of land), and then a people!

And God would empower and enrich them to do so, with prosperity and posterity; and purposefully in the Progeny of Jesus to be the Redeemer of the corrupted and contaminated earth, and finally Redeemer of lost souls.

Graeme Goldsworthy, writing in ‘The Kingdom of God and the Old Testament’ said

we see nothing less than the promise of the king­dom of God. Abraham’s descendants are to be God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule.

It is Goldworthy’s recurring theme in his foundational Introduction to Biblical Theology – “According to Plan”

 

According to plan

God called Abraham and promised him a nation and a land.  This is getting exciting – I just found this in Wikipedia on Abraham –

“Abraham (Hebrew: אַבְרָהָם, ….

The narrative in Genesis revolves around the themes of posterity and land. Abraham is called by God to leave the house of his father Terah and settle in the land originally given to Canaan, but which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. Various candidates are put forward who might inherit the land after Abraham, but all are dismissed except for Isaac, his son by his half-sister Sarah. Abraham purchases a tomb (the Cave of the Patriarchs) at Hebron to be Sarah’s grave, thus establishing his right to the land, …”

The contest for the land is still ongoing at this very moment. UNESCO robbed Israel of the Abraham’s legacy of Hebron see  http://www.timesofisrael.com/unesco-votes-to-declare-hebron-an-endangered-site/).  Clashes and attacks upon Abraham’s descendants break out almost every day over Mount Zion. Again it’s about land, and Jesus would return and set foot on Mount Olive and then in the Millennium, reign from Jerusalem.

The Old Testament has details of Abraham’s future generations and genealogies – in owning earthly real-estate for the eternal Kingdom – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

Gen 15:  18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land

Gen 26: And the Lord appeared to him (Isaac) and said, …. dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,

12 And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. 14 He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him.

Gen 35: 10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body.12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”

 The Land W Bruggermann

Walter Brueggermann said in ‘The Land – Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith” =

“… see that the Old Testament, in its theological articulation, was not all about “deed,” but was concerned with place, specific real estate that was invested with powerful promises and with strategic arrangements for presence in the place as well.  Once I had seen that much, then it was a ready development to see the dialectic in Israel’s fortunes between landlessness (wilderness, exile) and landedness, the latter either as possession of the land, as anticipation of the land, or as grief about loss of the land; it was on that basis … all aspects being referred to God of the covenant Torah” 

.. The land was one of the most vibrant symbols for the people of ancient Israel. In the land-gift, promise, and challenge-was found the physical source of Israel’s fertility and life, and a place for the gathering of the hopes of the covenant people. 

Within the entire Old Testament, there are more than 2700 references to land. According to Elmer Martens, “The term ‘land’ is the fourth-most frequent substantive in the Old Testament.”

Read Deut 8:7-18

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless theLord your God for the good land he has given you.

11 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

The Land is Mine

From a reviewer of “The Land”, by Norman Habel, he goes in depth in his study of the Israelite people’s relationship to the land, and discovers six ideologies of land and its meaning to the Israelite people in the Hebrew Testament.

The ideologies (partial) are as follows:

–  The Land as the Source of Wealth (for the nation)
–  God has conquered the land for Israel

–  Land assigned by God
–  Up to each tribe to subdue the land and claim it for God’s people
·  The Land as God’s inheritance
–  The land, ultimately, is God’s
–  The healing of the land is coming
–  God is owner of the land

God first dwelt in the landed holy tabernacle, from which He reveals Himself through the people He chose, before He could tabernacle in our midst, born in the land of Bethlehem, and then tabernacle in our very lives in the Spirit. Our lives are His real estate.

We are sojourners in this earthly land, pilgrims on the way home!

Prosperity and posterity must be understood as the promises and blessings given to the chosen people in the Old Testament as empowerment to occupy the land on God’s behalf at a particular period of His program.  Prosperity and posterity (wealth and health) is not as what the WOF proponents advocate!

 2 Cor 5: 1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

“The Exodus Song”
This land is mine, God gave this land to me
This brave and ancient land to me
And when the morning sun reveals her hills and plain
Then I see a land where children can run free

So take my hand and walk this land with me
And walk this lovely land with me
Though I am just a man, when you are by my side
With the help of God, I know I can be strong

They Will Kill Us (the two witnesses)

Rabbi Threatens: Messianic Jewish Evangelists Deserve Death

http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=27637

Last week, I read about the death threat by a Rabbinic leader for two staff members from One for Israel.  3 days ago, I went up to Eitan Bar (who was at St Andrews Cathedral), and said that I am praying for him.  He said “Oh, you know?”

I met him again yesterday at a function, and went up to him and asked whether he is afraid, added that he should not be afraid since the Rabbinical leader is based in New York and not Israel.  Eitan said that he is not so afraid of the rabbi, it is more of his followers all over Israel.  (Dr Erez confirmed that there are regular attacks from the extreme Jews.  So the threat is real, very real.  Let’s pray for our brethren – the messianic Jews.

And yesterday, Dr Erez surprised Eitan by disclosing that yesterday was Eitan’s birthday.  So spontaneously we sang “Happy Birthday” to Eitan.  And at the end of the session, sang again when a sister found a candle and put in on a cut-up banana cake (from which half the pieces were already eaten by us during the break) and walked up to Eitan.  We sang again.  O such a happy day.  I went up to Eitan, and said, without anything for his birthday, I shared from my phone the Youtube song “Rejoice O Israel” composed by NCC, and presented at the Southern Steps of the Old City of Jerusalem.  Both Dr Erez and Eitan has not heard that song, and would watch that video again in their own time. 

In a separate video response to Mizrachi’s threat, Bar and Vaknin asked for prayers for their personal safety, but also expressed forgiveness and love for the wayward rabbi.

“Rabbi Mizrachi, we still love you, forgive your incitement, and refuse to hate you back,” said Vaknin.

Yeshua said “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever killyou will think that he offers God service.” (John 16:2)

I love Jews, and Israel

Now that I have blogged about Ruth, I just felt led to share this.

When I was in Chicago a few years ago, I met my daughter’s supervisor at UIC, and when she was offered a job after graduation, met her boss.  I thanked both of them (who are secular Jews) for the favor and help rendered, and said that our family has been blessed by the descendants of Abraham. Both were somewhat taken aback for to meet an Asian who loves Jews.  They even asked if I had been to Israel.  Proudly, I said, yes twice, and would go again if opportunity permits.

The last time I was in Israel, I met a man having a picnic with his family at Tel Dan. I verbalized my gratitude that the Jews gave us God’s Word, the prophets and finally the Messiah of the world.  He asked then whether I believe in the Messiah mentioned in the Tanath.  Truly, I replied, and He has come, and He will come again.  But the conversation was cut short as our group had to move on.

But I am probably an oddity.  It is not politically correct to voice support for Israel, frequently vilified and demonized in the press, campuses, United Nations, government parliamentarians.

But what saddens me is that many believers in Jesus have also somewhat been influenced by what they read, and have low regard for Israel and its policies and practices over the status of Jerusalem and the “Jordanians”.  Why did I used the word Jordanians?  Do watch the appended Youtube by Jacob Prasch.  A must watch for all believers.

And that is why I subscribe to the following for another perspective of what is truly happening in the place where I am spiritually born – Mt Zion.

http://honestreporting.com/

http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/

http://www.israeltoday.co.il/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2mFMpSPNEU

 

Shalom in Yeshua