Your Equation of 12

Imagine that the number 12 represents you as a fully mature son of God, as in Ephesians 4:13.

Equation of 12Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

 

Equations of 12

In our analogy the number 12 represents you, fully formed into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

1 John 3:2-3  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 

6+6=12                 5+8-1=12        

2+10=12                2 x 6=12      

4+4+4=12             24/2=12

3+3+3+3=12        100-88=12          950.4/79.2=12

There are an infinite number of ways to get to 12, but they all equal 12.

Cattle Chute

Cattle Chute

What if the choices we make every day are creating the equation of our lives?
What if God is NOT guiding us down a cattle chute toward our 12?

Maybe, as our poor choices send our equation off the mark, God brings situations that offer opportunities to correct our equation.

My equation interacts with your equation and many other equations.  We add to and subtract from one another’s equations.

All the time there is a Guiding Hand, not manipulating, but offering a path that leads to 12.

Jesus the Sin Offering and the Priest

Part of this post is an excerpt from my book He Who Bleeds available on amazon.com

Is God angry, raging and vengeful? Animal sacrifice? What a barbaric custom!  Gruesome, even cruel.  No wonder many Christian theologians separate the angry God of the Old Testament from the loving God of the New Testament.   

Who is Who?

There is a gospel in the Old Testament.  Jesus opened the Old Testament scriptures to the disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection.

Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  Luke 24:27

What is animal sacrifice?  I mean, what is it all about?   I know it is representative, but who is who?  I mean, who is the animal representing?  Maybe he is representing me, and I should die for my sin, but the innocent animal dies in my place so God can forgive me.  Is this really what is going on?

What if, in the gospel according to the First Covenant, the sacrificial animal takes the representative role of the victim of that sin?  To find the answer we must look into the ceremony of Atonement.

Atonement is a Legal Term

The Hebrew word in the Strong’s concordance is #3722 kaphar[1].  An example of kaphar as a legal term is in Isaiah 28:18 “your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand;” A covenant is a legally binding agreement, like a contract.  Disannulment  brings the contract to a legal end.  Disannulment frees the signers from further contract liability.  Disannulment is atonement, kaphar.

Atonement as referred to in Mosaic Law is the waiving of the required legal punishment.  Sins for which atonement is made are covered.  They are covered from the punishment of the law.  The process of atonement does not negate the need for repentance and restitution.  On the contrary, confession, repentance and making restitution are necessary steps to atonement[2].  According to Leviticus, after these first steps had been accomplished, then the priest shall make an atonement for him.

The Priest is the Acting Intercessor

How did the priest make an atonement for the sinner?  What did the priest do?  

In a case where the sinner confesses and repents to the victim, as long as the victim is satisfied with the repentance, they may declare peace with one another, and the incident is over. Like Jesus said in Matthew 5:25,  Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him.  There is no need for the law to step in and provide an intercessor.   But what if the sinner repents, and still the victim refuses to make peace?  Then there is need for the law to provide an intercessor.  The intercessor acts in the place of the defrauded victim and makes an atonement for the repentant sinner.   

The earthly pattern that God gave Moses for atonement had two parts.  These were two actors, so to speak, in this earthly pre-enactment of the necessary action in the heavens.  The sacrificial animal and the priest both represent the victim of the sin.  The animal loses his life as the victim who has been defrauded of a portion of his life.  The priest, in the place of the victim, makes atonement, in other words, waives the charges against the sinner. 

            Ceremonially, two actors were needed because the animal could lay down his life, but could not intelligently waive the charges.  The priest could waive the charges, but could not die or suffer equal defraudment for every sin he atoned.  So, the priest was required to eat the sin offering[3] to make himself one with the animal who was taking on the position of the victim.  It was imperative upon the priest that he eat the sin offering, and only the priest who offered the sacrifice was allowed to eat it. 

Because the priest representatively becomes the victim of my sin, he has the right to press charges against me or to waive the charges.  

What did he do?  The priest waived the charges in the stead of the victim and atonement was made.

            Jesus was able to be both sin offering and priest.  Jesus was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities[4].  He accepted the weight of pain and grief caused by every sin ever committed bearing it in his own body on the cross.  He is the Victim of all our sin, and He could choose to press charges or to waive the charges against us.  Thank God, he chose to intercede in the proceedings that were against us making atonement for our sins, not pressing the charges.  Only the victim or one who legally stands in the victim’s stead can do that.  Jesus is the True Victim who holds the right to forgive every sin; and he is our High Priest who “ever liveth to make intercession for us”.[5] 

Let’s go back to where we started.  Is this a barbaric picture of animal sacrifice?  Gruesome, even cruel?  Maybe; but who is cruel, God? or the sinner? 

Sin is cruel, and Jesus came to take away sin.

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29  

[1] 3722  kaphar {kaw-far’} From Strong’s Concordance
Meaning:  1) to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch 1a) to coat or cover with pitch  1b1) to cover over, pacify, propitiate 1b2) to cover over, atone for sin, make atonement for 1b3) to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites 1c1) to be covered over 1c2) to make atonement for 1d) to be covered
Origin:  a primitive root
Usage:  AV – atonement 71, purge 7, reconciliation 4, reconcile 3, forgive 3, purge away 2, pacify 2, atonement…made 2, merciful 2, cleansed 1, disannulled 1, appease 1, put off 1, pardon 1, pitch 1; 102

[2] Leviticus 6:4-7  Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,  5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.  6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:  7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.

[3] Leviticus 6:26  The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.

[4] Hebrews 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

[5] Hebrews 7:25  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

The Last Amen – Christian Death

Christian Death

The words don’t go together, Christian death.  It’s an oxymoron, maybe it’s a diptych.  

The following is a guest post by Rae Shrock.  Rae is the editor and creator of the beautiful, slick, full color Daughters of Promise Magazine, available online and in hard copy.

 “The magazine has expanded to include many gifted writers, photographers, and fellow visionaries who share a common passion to encourage women in their faith. DOP is unique in that it is primarily written by women of the Anabaptist denomination. We are a diverse mix, but we share a common love for set-apartness, experiential Christianity, and Jesus.”

Christian Death

In Memory of
Elizabeth Brewer Ward
1981-2013

Rae was inspired to write this article, which is almost a poem, by the Christian deaths of friends and neighbors near her.  She is young, but death experiences reach us all on a deep and common level.  Rae’s gift with words will bring her experience close to your heart and gently warm you with her hope and ours.  The young mother, Elizabeth, whom she mentions toward the end is my precious daughter-in law.  My son is the husband who awoke that morning a widower.  Her three young children are my full-of-life grandchildren.  

Thank you, Rae, for bringing us all the Light of Hope in this article.

 

 

The Last Amen

By Rae Schrock

We live to die.

From the first filling of virgin lungs, the process begins.

Life. It is framed by the handles of time: when we begin, and when we end.

Grasped by the Giver and handed to us, a gift of grace.

Life is a gift.

And to most radiantly honor the Giver, the gift of life lived must glorify Him. Must be full to the brim of worship, one breath after another,

Inhaling Christ. Exhaling praise.

So, as we live to worship, we die to say ‘Amen’.

Could this be the point of it all? To have lived so well that the last breath I draw simply echoes the brevity of all my time here, an exclamation point to the life He gave? God, glorified. Christ, adored. Worship pulsing, filling, spanning the whole of my one solitary life. Death, pronouncing the awe-choked, hands-raised ‘Amen’, to a life fully lived. A glorious ‘Let it be’ to the worship of a life fully laid down to Christ.

If I live to worship,

If I live to die,

Then let death be my final declaration of love. Let it be shouted from my slow- beating heart and emptying lungs that HE was why I lived. That every moment; every bead of choking grief, exhausting labor, tempestuous trial, was encapsulated in the radiant joy of being His. Pearls strung along the strand of time, my every moment was meaningful because it was for Him.

I see the Garden. And beyond, the cross. I glimpse the Son of Man, torn with grief, writhing against the weight of humanity’s sins & the crushing blows of death itself, laying open tattered ribbons across His back. And as blood-caked, sun-scorched lips part to breathe last words, the words that split sky, shook earth, slashed listening ears of demons, & leaped in the hearts of every man who has caught their reverberations throughout the ages; as Jesus embraced what all humanity must, He embraced us more.

It is finished.

Not life, but death!

The words thunder in my heart. They shatter fear, split doubt … Continue reading

Three Days and Three Nights, The Biblical Sequence

In order to prove that Jesus was in the tomb, that is, the heart of the earth, for three days and three nights, we must see the parallel of the Gospels to get the time sequence.

The Biblical Sequence, Three Days and Three Nights:shining-cross-5_1039316910
The days of the week apply to the particular year of Jesus’ crucifixion since the Passover may land on any day of the week depending on the sighting of the first new moon each year.

1. The Evening Prior to the Daytime of the Preparation for the Passover [Tuesday night]:
The Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the arrest, the trial before the Sanhedrin

2. The Day of Preparation for the Passover [Wednesday]:
Taken before Pilate, taken to Herod, the beating, the crucifixion and His death, the burial
Night One

3. The 1st day of Unleavened Bread, a high day Sabbath [Thursday]:
Pharisees demand a seal of the tomb and a watch of soldiers.
Day One
Night Two

4. The 2nd Day of Unleavened Bread [Friday]:
The women buy and prepare spices.
Day Two
Night Three

5. The 3rd Day of Unleavened Bread, a weekly Sabbath day [Saturday]:
The women rested according to the commandment.
Day Three

6. The 4th Day of Unleavened Bread, the 1st day of the week [Sunday]:
The women bring the prepared spices to the tomb early in the morning while it is yet dark and find He is already risen.

So Jesus must have returned to his fleshly body late Saturday afternoon.  By 3 pm, the full three days and three nights prophecy would have been fulfilled.

Discrepancy? Do the Gospel writers disagree?

I would like to clear up an apparent discrepancy in Mark 14:12.
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?

1. We know that the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread is NOT the day on which the Passover lamb was killed. Continue reading

Crucifixion to Resurrection Three Days and Three Nights? How’s that?

Let’s see …Three days and three nights, right?

Well, we’ll count Friday, Good Friday, as day one.  That’s when they say Jesus was crucified, so he died that afternoon and was buried that day before dark.  Day two must be Saturday.  Uh oh, everyone knows Easter Sunday is Resurrection Day, and he was alive early in the morning when Mary came to the tomb.  Anyway, even if they aren’t full days, we have counted three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The three nights?  Friday night, Saturday night, …no Sunday night.  How can we make it work?  And why does it matter? It’s just tradition, and I guess the early church had a little trouble counting.

But there is more to it than just tradition.  Jesus himself laid his whole claim to Messiahship on these three days and three nights.  It was to be his proof, his sign.

Matthew 12:38-40 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying,
Master, we would see a sign from thee.
But he answered and said unto them, Jonah and Whale pic
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;
and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly¹;
so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Before we go to pieces and begin to doubt our faith, let’s look again at the account.  Thankfully, we have four separate witnesses to these three days and three nights; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  And, yes, each day and each night is present and accounted for.

Sabbath Day Confusion

The confusion over the time sequence between Jesus’ death and His resurrection is caused by our lack of familiarity with the Law. Certain feast days were also Sabbath days, Continue reading

Arise, Sons of the Most High, and Judge the Earth

God cries to His sons to restore justice and stabilize the foundations of the earth.

Psalm 82   A Psalm of Asaph

God [Elohim] stands in the congregation of the mighty [el];
He judges among the gods [elohim].
2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.
5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
6 I said, “You are gods [elohim], And all of you are children of the Most High.
7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.”
8 Arise, O God [Elohim], judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.
[New King James] 

Jesus Christ took this call seriously in John 10:34-35.

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law [Psalm 82], I said, Ye are gods?  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;”

By his reference to this psalm, Jesus also proved the sense of the psalm.

Elohim is a name or title for Yahweh.  As a title it seems to be pluralized as if to say “God of all gods” or “Judge above every other judge.”  But, elohim sometimes refers to human judges or magistrates.

Strong’s Concordance #430: elohim
Meaning:  1) (plural) 1a) rulers, judges 1b) divine ones 1c) angels 1d) gods 2) (plural intensive – singular meaning) 2a) god, goddess 2b) godlike one 2c) works or special possessions of God 2d) the (true) God 2e) God

Psalm 82 is a message to men to take authority as judges in the earth and defend the poor and needy.  Until men take their place as sons of God, and therefore judges in the earth, as the psalm says, “the foundations of the earth are unstable.”

Arise, O God [Elohim], judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations. 

Is this last verse a cry from the psalmist to God to come and judge the earth, or is it God’s cry to His sons to judge and to defend?  The entire psalm is a plea from God to earthly judges.  Why would the plea be reversed at the end?  The answer lies in “inherit.”  Doesn’t God own all creation?  Does He need to be promised an inheritance? May we read thus…

I said, “You are judges [elohim], And all of you are children of the Most High.  …

8 Arise, O judges [elohim], judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.” 

Asaph the psalmist seems to be calling men to arise as the sons of the Most High and judge the earth in God’s justice, to free the poor and needy from the hand of the wicked!

Elohim stands in the congregation of the judges; He judges among the judges.
2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked?
3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.
5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
6 I said, “You are judges, And all of you are children of the Most High.
7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O judges, judge the earth; For you shall inherit all nations.” 

The Corporate Woman and the Manchild

From Revelation 12

In prayer recently I saw the Woman of Revelation chapter 12 as a corporate woman made up of women, generation after generation, bringing forth children who become another generation to bring forth children and so on until the generation arrives which shall bring forth the corporate Manchild.  All along and in each generation the Dragon has stood before her to devour her children with oppression and slavery, yet in each generation some live to bring forth another generation of children born to carry the Covenant Promise to still another generation.  This Woman and her seed have carried the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations of the world.

The Dragon’s Tail Casts One Third of the Stars of Heaven Down to Earth

In John’s vision the Woman has a garland of twelve stars on her head.  This seems reminiscent of Joseph’s dream in which he saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bow down to his star.  The interpretation given is that Jacob, his wife and all of Joseph’s eleven brothers would bow down to Joseph, which certainly came to pass.  The twelve stars in the corporate Woman’s garland seem to represent the twelve tribes of Israel out of which she and her offspring come.  One third of her offspring are cast out of heavenly authority by the tail, the back-side of the Dragon, one might think, in secret.

Those cast down out of heavenly authority by the Dragon’s tail historically have been those of her offspring who have enslaved, oppressed and robbed the Woman’s children in each generation.  They have been church leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, who have enslaved and robbed by religion.  They have been of the nobility and the wealthy classes who have oppressed and killed and have expanded their kingdoms by force.  They are the heads of international corporations and banking systems who seek to devour all economic systems of the earth into one under their own control.  Yet in every enslaved and oppressed generation, some live to perpetuate the Promise.

The Manchild shall be born as surely as the Messiah was born in Bethlehem.  The generation which is to bring forth the Manchild who is “to rule all nations with a rod of iron” may be very close at hand.  The Manchild is not a whole generation.  The Woman, the generation which brings forth the Manchild, continues to live as the Manchild is “caught up to God and His throne.”  She is protected in a wilderness place by two wings of a great eagle with which she flies in heavenly authority, and she is nourished “away from the face of the serpent.”

The Dragon cannot touch the Woman, but he goes to “make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”  Is this remnant of her seed not the children across the earth that she has spawned through the Gospel in every nation?

The Manchild born of the Woman of Revelation 12 shall be caught up to God and to His throne.  At that time a voice in heaven shall say, “Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ.”

…the devil knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Revelation 12:12