Archive for April, 2011

The 10 Commandments – Easter Message

Hi people today I write on the legendary Biblical Ten Commandments. Let us first see what they speak of first.

Exodus 20:1-17 (Old Testament)
1 God spoke, and these were his words: 2 “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.
3 “Worship no god but me.
4 “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth.
5 Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation.
6 But I show my love to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my laws.
7 “Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I, the Lord your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.
8 “Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. 9 You have six days in which to do your work, 10 but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work — neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country. 11 In six days I, the Lord, made the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That is why I, the Lord, blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.
12 “Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you.
13 “Do not commit murder.
14 “Do not commit adultery.
15 “Do not steal.
16 “Do not accuse anyone falsely.
17 “Do not desire another man’s house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”

The above may seem to you like Law, a list of do’s and don’ts. Well these 10 commandments have been taken from the Old Testament and relate to the Law of Moses. Well the Bible says that the Law was good but the Law’s shelf life was only until the Law was fulfilled in the Messiah (Jesus).

Matthew 5:17-18 (Jesus’ Word during His ministry)
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Luke 22:14-17 (Jesus with His apostles a little before the time of the cross)
14 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”

Note: from Luke 22:14-17
1. Jesus promised not to eat and drink any more until the Kingdom of God comes, which is symbolic of a New Covenanant sealed by His blood (suffer).
2. The Kingdom of God coming is also reflective of the fulfillment of the Law in Jesus.

John 19:28-30 (Jesus at the time of His death on the cross)
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

We therefore see that we are no longer under Law, so what then are we under? The answer my friend is grace (John 1:17), grace meaning goodness given even though not deserved. It is in this perspective of grace that we see the essence of the Ten Commandments. All these 10 Commandments are summed up in only two Commandments (Mat 22:37-39).

John 1:17
God gave the Law through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:14
Sin must not be your master; for you do not live under law but under God’s grace.

Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

To look at the 10 commandments under the perspective of Law today would seem rather odd. You must however understand that Law is such a thing where you are either guilty or not guilty, the only way you are not guilty is if you have not done it or if your circumstance was considered in the written Law. It is however impossible to cover all circumstances to excuse you from being guilty.

Consider this, if you were to tell someone you would meet him at 5pm and if you were to experience a delay and meet him at say 5:10pm then if the Law does not cover this circumstance in writing then you are guilty of lying. Also consider if you were to meet a beautiful woman and get married, if you were to tell her that she is still beautiful when she turns fat after bearing lovely children, then too you would be guilty of lying for truth to one man may be as per law truth to any other man. If the Sabbath was to be observed as a day of rest as per the Law then the effort required by you to keep yourself from doing nothing may stress you out more than the easier going daily chores. If a person were to steal food just to keep him going then he would be punishable as per the law. If an army man were to kill just to safeguard his country’s right to exist then that would be punishable too. The funny thing is that even the people of the Old Testament experienced the grace of God, for example God chose Israel to be His people even though they were the smallest of all peoples (Deuteronomy 7:6-8).

Deuteronomy 7:6-8
6 Do this because you belong to the Lord your God. From all the peoples on earth he chose you to be his own special people.
7 “The Lord did not love you and choose you because you outnumbered other peoples; you were the smallest nation on earth. 8 But the Lord loved you and wanted to keep the promise that he made to your ancestors. That is why he saved you by his great might and set you free from slavery to the king of Egypt.

To obey the Law as Law when you are under grace is to harden your hearts in stubbornness (Mark 10:2-5). Religious Law portrays God as a policeman with stick. God chooses to discipline His people but not through religious Law but through life itself. God instills in us His Spirit to have an inside effect on us (Ezekiel 11:19).

Mark 10:2-5
2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.

Ezekiel 11:19 (God’s Word through the prophet Ezekiel)
And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

God’s idea of the Law was to make God’s opposition that lies within man known to man (Romans 7:7), the Law was perfect but as man strived to be made perfect in the Law, his desires within opposed God’s Law (Romans 7:21-23) and man could do nothing. God wanted man to feel this vacuum for himself, an uneasiness from which only the Lord Jesus could deliver (Romans 7:25) and a vacuum which only God the Holy Spirit could fill (Galatians 5:16-18). The Law by itself never justified man before God (Romans 3:20) for the Law was never for the righteous but rather to make known to sinners their wickedness (1Timothy 1:8-10).

Romans 7:7
Shall we say, then, that the Law itself is sinful? Of course not! But it was the Law that made me know what sin is. If the Law had not said, “Do not desire what belongs to someone else,” I would not have known such a desire.

Romans 7:21-23 (Apostle Paul)
21 So I find that this law is at work: when I want to do what is good, what is evil is the only choice I have. 22 My inner being delights in the law of God. 23 But I see a different law at work in my body — a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of. It makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is at work in my body. 24 What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ! ..

Galatians 5:16-18
16 What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature.
..
18 If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law.

Romans 3:20
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

1Timothy 1:8-10
8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

Salvation, which is eternal life living in the blissful presence of God is given to man not for man’s works but by the grace of God that enables His people to believe that their sin was paid for in full by Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:7-9
7 He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus. 8-9 For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it.

So this my friends is the 10 Commandment’s Easter message.
1. Walk in obedience to Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour.
2. Love and do for your neighbor as you would love and do for your self. If your neighbour is your enemy then pray that you may be patient as God in His time will open a door for you somewhere sometime that you may express this love. Remember what we do, we do not for the gratitude of men but for the greater cause that Jesus be glorified as Almighty God who is One with the Father and Spirit

Colossians 3:23
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings.

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A vision of Zechariah expounded

Hello people today I write about the amazing revelation given in a vision to the prophet Zechariah in the Old Testament.

Zechariah 3:1-9
1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.2 The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.4 He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”5 Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by.
6 And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.
8 Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you–indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch.9 For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.10 ‘In that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.'”

To give you some ground for the above story, Joshua is High Priest of God’s Temple around 520BC & he is assigned with restoring the Temple, the people return from exile in Babylon. I’d like to tell you first that “Satan” means one who accuses you before God. From verse 2 we learn Biblical etiquettes even in dealing with Satan, you can see here that Joshua or the angel of God did not stone or throw footwear at Satan, God has no intention to let His people stoop to the level of Satan, Satan’s punishment is not stoning or throwing footwear but eternal fire. We see here that God denounced Satan by speaking rebuke towards him and declaring possession over His people right in front of this accuser. The word rebuke means to express stern disapproval and we see something along the same lines in Matthew 4:1-11, which brings me to ponder that Zech 3:2 was spoken by Jesus Himself.

Matthew 4:1-11
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'”
5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will command His angels concerning You’;
and
‘On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.'”
7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'”11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

The word ‘Brand’ in Zechariah 3:2, is a burning stick and in reference to Joshua refers to him being saved from hell’s fire. Zech3 verse 3 synchronizes with Isaiah 64:6 also from the Old Testament, we see here that when we stand before God clothed in the righteousness of our own good deeds or lawful religion, our garments seem like rags compared to the righteousness God is clothed in.

Isaiah 64:6
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Zech 3 verses 3-5 are very similar to the reconciliation in the story of the prodigal son has after he comes back to his father, having squandered his share of inheritance in Luke 15:20-24.

Luke 15:20-24
20 So he got up and started back to his father.
“He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms round his son, and kissed him. 21 ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’ 22 But the father called his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. 23 Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! 24 For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began.

You will notice great similarity in Zech 3:4 & Luke 15:22-23. The inequity that was taken away from Joshua was similar to shame taken away from the prodigal son in Luke 15. This friend is what grace about; grace being the undeserved favour you receive from God, as a sinner. Your life here in this world is about religious performance but about what God has done for you as a sinner.

You may however ask as how come Joshua was saved, when the price of sin was not as yet paid on the cross, incase you are wondering if there were more cases like these in the Old Testament, the answer is yes, consider the case of the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 6:7
He touched my lips with the burning coal and said, “This has touched your lips, and now your guilt is gone, and your sins are forgiven.”

In case you don’t know how such a thing can happen then let me introduce you to something called radical faith. Something which will make you thank God for something before you even ask for it or before it is given to you. Let me give you an example, I have been struggling with my new job and going to work was like walking to the gallows. One day I just looked up on my way to work and I thanked Jesus, in my pain but knowing that he would deliver me from this trial. A strange peace came upon me then, which you will know only if His Spirit stirs you. I have now been transferred to e-mails, this peace made me so sure of my rescue like a person who is sure of a better life when he walks out of prison. So you see prophets and patriarchs such as Isaiah and Abraham, lived in faith with God (Romans 4:3) & this is what counted them among the righteous that is ‘saved them’. The price of their sin was paid later but their slate was wiped clean as soon as they put their trust in God, they too have Jesus to thank for their salvation. Hebrews 9:25-28 will provide some scripture to show you that the work of Salvation on the cross was all ages before and after.

Romans 4:3
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

Hebrews 9:25-28 (New Testament)
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

The House of God in Zech 3:7, refers to God’s people,

2Corinthians 6:16 (Apostle Paul to the Church)
For we are the temple of the living God! As God himself has said: “I will make my home with my people and live among them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

“The Branch” referred to in Zech 3 verse 8 refers to the body of believers in Jesus as a whole, known as the Church.

John 15:5 (Jesus’ word)
5 “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.

This is confirmed in Zech 3 verse 9, as the stone with seven eyes refers to Jesus (Rev 5:6), but Biblically the body of Christ is the whole Church (Eph 5:23), for whom Christ died to take away the inequity of that land in one day. Rev 3:11-12 gives you an idea for what the Lord of Host, will inscribe on His Church. Incase you ask why Jesus refers to His father as His God when He (Jesus) Himself is God, then I would like to tell you that in the Bible even the Father referred to His Son as God (Heb 1:8). This should not be interpreted as God has a God but that they all are the same God (John 10:22), obey Jesus is obeying the Father (1Jn2:23 & 2Jn1:9).

Revelation 5:6
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Ephesians 5:23
…as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

Revelation 3:11-12 (Jesus’ word to His Church)
11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

Hebrews 1:1-8
1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

8 But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

John 10:22
I and the Father Are One

1John2:23
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

2John 1:9
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

Zech 3 verse 10 speaks of days, when every one who believes in Jesus (the Church), will openly invite his neighbor out of love (Mat 22:39) to sit under the goodness of his vine, which is Biblically Jesus as per John 15:5 (above) and under the fig tree is figuratively speaking from John 1:43-50 to have a revelation of Jesus and come to love Him (Mat 22:37) for who He really is, which is the only way to Salvation

Matthew 22:37-39
37…“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

John 1:43-50
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

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