Monday, June 15, 2020

I'm a Psalm 110-ist

Jesus is King now!
Folks often ask me what I believe about the future. In my many years of being a Christian (accepted Christ when I was 6 years old; I'm now 59), I've been all over the board on eschatology (the study of the last things). I've studied this incredibly popular and interesting subject my whole life and am still doing so. Obviously, many things about this subject are mysterious as Christians all throughout history have been also all over the board on the specifics. The things that all Christians throughout all the 2000 years of church history have agreed upon (Roman Catholic, Protestant, & Eastern Orthodox) are:
  • The future coming of Jesus Christ
  • The future bodily resurrection of the just & unjust
  • The future universal judgment
  • The future coming of the New Heaven & New Earth.
These are depicted clearly in every writing, creed, and council. Though we, as Christians, have a greatly varied opinion on the details and schemes, we all end up in the exact same place in 100% agreement: a New Heaven and a New Earth in immortal glorified resurrected bodies, reigning with Jesus Christ forever. Amen! Praise the Lord!

For example:

The Apostle's Creed (circa AD 120-250) states:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Nicene Creed (AD 381) states:
We believe in one God, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven; He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried. The third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.
The Athanasian Creed (circa AD 500) states:
...The Son suffered for our salvation; He descended to hell; he arose from the dead; He ascended to heaven; He is seated at the Father's right hand; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. At His coming all people will arise bodily and give an accounting of their own deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire. This is the catholic faith: one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.
These are universal (ecumenical) truths. But how do we get there? What is going on now? This is where agreement ends.

Having studied the various beliefs I have learned not to be too dogmatic about these things. I am content to not go too much further than the above 3 ecumenical creeds. In fact, as the title to this short article shows, I am content to call myself a Psalm 110-ist. In a bit more detail, this is why:

Jesus is currently at the right hand of God according to the above. Scripture says:
Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
What is He doing at the right hand of God, and why has He not returned to earth yet?
Psalm 110:1 The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
Hebrews 10:11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
So, Jesus is at the right hand of God "waiting till His enemies are made His footstool," then, and only then, after that point, will He return, and in one appointed day, put the last enemy, which is death, under His feet via the resurrection of the just and the unjust.
Acts 17:30 "The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now He commands that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained; of which He has given assurance to all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead."
Acts 24:14 "But this I confess to you, that after the Way, which they call a sect, so I serve the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets; 15 having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."
1Corinthians 15:25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
So, is Jesus king now? Or is He going to become king in some future millennial kingdom?

He is king now:
Acts 2:29 "Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was His soul left in Hades, nor did His flesh see decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this, which you now see and hear. 34 For David didn't ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit by my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."' 36 let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
Therefore, we are not waiting on a secret rapture, but rather we are the means by which Christ is putting all His enemies under His feet. He is reigning right now on the throne of David at the right hand of God. And He will return after all His enemies are made His footstool, and then personally put the last enemy down, which is death, via the resurrection of the dead. Then the New Heavens and New Earth will come and we will reign forever with Him on a New Earth under a New Heavens in our glorified, immortal, resurrected bodies.

Part of participating in the putting down of His enemies is what this blog is all about; getting the sick healed. Sickness is incipient death. And healing of physical sickness is a taste of the full redemption of our bodies in the resurrection to come. How do I know this? Jesus, when He walked the earth, forgave sins based on His [then] coming atonement on the cross. It is the atonement that bought forgiveness of our sins. Jesus, when He walked the earth, also healed sickness based on His [then] coming atonement on the cross. It is the atonement that also bought redemption of our bodies:
Matthew 8:16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." [quoting Isaiah 53:4]

Monday, March 2, 2020

Faith & Persistence in Prayer

Mountain of Adversity
This story is so good and encouraging, I just had to share it. It comes from a book that has John G. Lake's sermons in it. The title of the story is simply: "Adventures in Religion, Radio Lecture 5, June 28, 1935." 

I've laid hands on literally hundreds of people since I first started doing this. Oftentimes something tangible happens immediately and pain diminishes, or there is a feeling of heat, or of cold, or sometimes, tingling. Other times there is just a feeling of great peace. But occasionally, nothing at all seems to happen. It is times like that, that we need to press in. Yes, Jesus healed the sick instantly, but there were a few cases where the sick were healed over a period of time. For example:
  • Lepers were cleansed "as they went" (Luke 17:14)
  • The nobleman's son "began to amend" (John 4:52)
  • Jesus prayed twice for a blind man (Mark 8:22-26)

And why would Paul tell us to stand for something if it were not occasionally necessary to do so? He writes, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to standStand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– (Ephesians 6:10-18)

So we are to stand "in the power of His might," not ours. And notice above he says for us to stand no less than 4 times. I believe we fail in healing many times simply because our faith is not long enough. We do not persist. We pray once and then that's it. But we must push against that mountain constantly, never letting up, until we see the manifestation of the power of the Kingdom of God; until we see "His Kingdom come" and exercise its complete dominion and rule over all the power of the enemy! We are not pushing God, we are pushing the adversity. It is the thief (the devil) that comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, not God (John 10:10). Jesus comes to bring life. And He never changes (Hebrews 13:8).

Here is the short story in its entirety:
"This afternoon I want to talk to you on the subject of miracles. From the year 400 until now, the Church has assumed the attitude that the days of miracles are passed -- without any scriptural evidence whatever. They have taught that miracles were to demonstrate the divinity of Jesus and, therefore, the divinity of Jesus being demonstrated, there was no longer any need for miracles.
"We had a local incident that demonstrates the effect of this teaching, I think. My conviction on the matter is that it has done more damage to the Christian faith than any other teaching that has been promulgated. There is a gentleman who works at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, O. A. Risdon, who is one of the engineers there. He had a son with a deformed head. The top of the head raised up like the ridge of a roof, the forehead and back of the head also were forced out in similar manner, giving the head the appearance of the hull of a yacht upside down. He was born with what the physicians call a closed head. The boy was always slobbering. The pressure on the brain caused the right side to become paralyzed, and the boy was dumb. He was five years old at this time.
"The physicians said there was nothing they could do. Then in desperation, he appealed to his pastor. The pastor told him the days of miracles were past, that the Lord did not heal now, that miracles were given to demonstrate the divinity of Jesus. The father replied, 'If Jesus would heal my son I would be convinced that He is divine now. If He is divine he could lift this damnation from our house.'
"Finally, he came to us seeking help. We began to minister to the child. In a few days we observed that the paralysis began to depart. Instead of walking on one side of his ankles he began to walk on the foot, and that indicated that the pressure was relieved on the brain. In seven weeks the child was perfectly well. The bones of the head softened and came down to normal. The paralysis disappeared and the child began to talk. In three months he was in the public school. He is a young married man now.
"Dear friends, if we had continued to believe that the days of miracles were past, that boy would be in the insane asylum. But we believed that Jesus Christ was the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the boy was healed. It is a delight to believe the works of Jesus. I have used this rule in my study of the Scriptures. If there is any question on any Scripture I settle it with the words of Jesus. I consider all the Scriptures are a common court of the Gospel, but the words of Jesus are the Supreme Court of the Gospel. When I want a Supreme Court decision I appeal to the words of Jesus.
"You can read all the words of Jesus in two hours or less in a red-letter New Testament. Make a practice of reading the words of Jesus on any subject that troubles you, and make a compilation of what He says. He ought to be sufficient authority on any question, for the heavenly Father called attention to the fact that He is the Son of God and that we are to hear Him. He said: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.' (Matthew 17:5)"