The Different Roles of the The Holy Spirit before and after Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Many people incorrectly believe that we first encounter The Holy Spirit in Matthew 1:18: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” If the question was “When was the first appearance of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament”, that would be the correct answer. But we actually meet the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2 “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was[a] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”. He is a co-equal part of the Trinity; He is called God’s Spirit to show He is the same as God.

As Christians, we are taught to pray to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. While many of us forget that our prayers are powered by The Holy Spirit, by praying this way, it shows us that the Three Persons of the Godhead are one, and are co-equal. God uses progressive revelation to show us who the Holy Spirit is. By using the Old Testament alone, there are some who might question whether or not the Holy Spirit is actually a Person. This is cleared up completely in the New Testament, as The Holy Spirit is referred to as Ekeinos the Greek word for “He” 17 times. Matthew 12:31-32 further clarifies the Personhood of the Holy Spirit when it states. 31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come”. No one can sin against an “It”.

The Holy Spirit chose to manifest Himself slightly differently before and after our Lord Jesus died and was resurrected. Just as our Lord Jesus is, was, and will always be the “Logos (Word)”, He did not incarnate during the Old Testament times. While Jesus did interact with Adam, Cain, Abraham, Moses, and others directly, He was usually referred to as The Angel of the Lord during those encounters. The Holy Spirit decided to interact, before Jesus’ resurrection, by inspiring, assisting and empowering those that He chose, while not indwelling any of the Old Testament saints..

The fact that the Holy Spirit chose to interact with humans in this way amazes me. We know that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; yet He still chooses to interact with us in different ways, in different dispensations. Changing how one does something does not change who one is. God, like His created beings (humans) has the freedom to change His methods whenever He chooses. Look at the different ways the Lord Jesus chose to heal blindness in the New Testament. He didn’t use the same method twice. In the Old Testament dispensation, The Holy Spirit came upon those He chose to interact with. He came upon Moses, Joshua, Samson and the other Judges. He came upon Samuel and stayed with David for a considerable amount of time. David asks in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Thy Presence” David also prayed in Psalm 51:11 “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me”

In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is actually called Ruach HaKodesh. HaKodesh is easy to translate. It means “The Holy”. Ruach, however, can be translated among other things as wind, spirit, or breath. So in English, we call the part of God that resides in all believers (in our current dispensation) The Holy Spirit. A while ago, I was in my car and the wind was really kicking up. I saw the clouds moving through the sky very quickly; something we don’t really get to see very often. Usually the sky is calm and the clouds are moving slowly or it is too overcast to see any movement. At that moment, I realized that a storm was coming and the strong wind moving the clouds reminded me of how quickly The Holy Spirit can move in our lives. He usually is gentle and caring and doesn’t rush us, but when a storm is coming, He may move more quickly and powerfully than we can imagine.

We usually look at the approaching storm and fret and worry. We forget that the Creator of the Universe, the One who allows and forms the storms of our lives, is also the One residing within us. He is there to be our anchor, our help, and our hiding place. I don’t like storms, neither the physical nor spiritual kind. I prefer to get out of the rain, because I don’t like getting wet and windblown. While I would love to get out of the spiritual storms in my life, I’m glad the Lord allows them. If He didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to grow in Him and learn to depend on Him. For without His Guidance, His Grace, and His Help, I would surely be lost in the midst of the storm.

I started looking at the Old Testament Saints. The Holy Spirit had an unique relationship with Adam. According to George Smeaton, Adam was filled with the Spirit until he sinned. Based on the glimpses we are shown in Scripture between God and Adam, I believe it was a pre-incarnate Jesus who interacted with Adam and Eve, both before and after that first sin, As for Abraham, Scripture points to the interactions between God and Abraham and even God and Hagar as with a pre-incarnate Jesus, as God is referred to either as LORD, or The Angel of the Lord, both titles point to Jesus. The Holy Spirit was most likely involved in Abraham’s story, when He came as a dream to Abimelech when Abraham was trying to pass off Sarah as his sister.

The Holy Spirit empowered Moses to do what needed to be done, in Egypt, Sinai and the wilderness. The Holy Spirit also inspired him to write the Torah. I don’t see The Holy Spirit communicating verbally with the Old Testament saints. I believe that Moses spoke to Jesus, or quite possibly the Father on top of Mt Sinai. A pre-incarnate Jesus came to Samson’s parents and spoke to them. Judges 13:20-21 states “20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the Lord”. In the New Testament, God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to tell her The Holy Spirit would come upon her and that she would bear a child. Luke 1:26-35 tells us this story:

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”29 But when she saw him,[d] she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  

I believe that these show that the Holy Spirit chose not to “talk” to us directly before Jesus resurrection.

2nd Timothy 3:16(a) tells us “16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”,  from this we know that it was the Holy Spirit  who inspired Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, David, Luke, Matthew, Peter, Paul, and the other authors of the Old and New Testaments. We are blessed to be able to read Books where words of God are written. As the Inspiration for the Bible’s Authors, The Spirit has been pointing us to Jesus, since Scripture has been put to parchment.

We find many references to Him in the Old Testament. Some of these include chapter 33 verse 4, of Job, where Elihu tells us “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life”. Genesis 6:3 tells usAnd the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive[a] with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Numbers 27:18 tells us: 18 And the Lord said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;”.  Scripture tells us that the Judges were also inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit. While his parents were visited by a Christophany, Samson himself was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Judges 14:6 tells us this about Sampson: And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.”

We know that the Spirit was with Samuel and also with David. While David wanted the Spirit of the Lord to remain with him, The Spirit probably left David, when David sinned. He was able to leave, because He wasn’t indwelling David. As God, the Spirit cannot abide sin, yet in New Testament believers, He resides within us, giving us additional strength to do the Lord’s bidding. As I write this, it is hard to think that the Holy Spirit has to live with my sin, until I repent, even if it is only for the short periods of time between my sin and my repentance. I need to be more mindful of His Presence

So what changed after Jesus died and rose again? He sent us the Helper, the part of God that would reside in us, teaching us, helping us and convicting us when we do wrong. He has always convicted believers and unbelievers of their sins. This is consistent throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Once Jesus had risen, He told the Apostles in John 20:21-2221 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” While the Apostles received The Holy Spirit before Pentecost, they were baptized with the Holy Spirit on that day. Since then, the two events can be simultaneous, or baptism can be prayed for at a later date. Acts  2 verses 1-4 tells us: When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord[a] in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance

Acts 10:44-46 shows The Holy Spirit falling for the first time on the Gentiles. “44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God”.        These are the only two times that speaking in tongues were a sign that the Holy Spirit was poured out onto someone in the New Testament.

Another Gentile who received the Lord was the Eunuch from Ethiopia. We see his story In Acts 8 verses 26-29.26Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot, and 34-38 “34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Here we see The Holy Spirit speak to someone for the first time and we also see someone being converted without speaking in tongues.

The Spirit is very active in the Book of Acts. In Chapter 5, we see the extreme punishment that can be given for lying to the Holy Spirit.  “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things

In Chapter 16 of the Book of Acts, verses 6&7 tell us that Paul and his companions were redirected by The Holy Spirit. “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit[a] did not permit them”

We are blessed to be living in a time when the Holy Spirit is alive and active. When we ask Him, He will direct us onto the paths we are meant to travel. We can depend on His Strength to get us through even the most difficult situations, as long as we are following God’s will for our lives. An example of this can be seen when the Apostle Paul asks for his thorn in the flesh to be removed. God answers him thusly in 2nd Corinthians 12:7-9 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

I’m not sure who “My” is in the verse cited above. It really doesn’t matter. What I have to remember, as do many others, is that The Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus and Jesus always points us to the Father, so the “My” could be any of the three Persons, or all of them.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Bible Gateway, New King James Version, Holy Bible. https://www.biblegateway.com, accessed 08/15-08/22

Class Notes and PowerPoint accessed 08/15-08/22

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What William Alan Believed about God

My husband Bill went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, July 18, 2009. He didn’t plan it. He drowned and the Lord took him home. I implore you, especially if you don’t believe in the Lord Jesus, to read this entire post, not for my sake, but for yours and to honor his memory. I ask that you read what Bill believed with an open mind.

Bill believed that the world had a Creator and that the Creator was God. He believed that no matter what happened to him, God would be there. He believed that when he died, he would have the privilege of spending eternity with God, in heaven. He believed that Jesus Christ (or to my Jewish friends and family, Y’shua HaMaschiach) was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, received a horrible beating and died a horrible death (as predicted by the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 53, written between 650 & 700 years before Jesus birth). The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, and Bill believed that Jesus took our sin upon Himself and paid the ultimate price (death). After 3 days, He rose from the dead, the first of the resurrected, which is a very Jewish belief, btw. As the Bible teaches, Bill believed that by his faith that Jesus’ death and resurrection were true, and by repenting and turning away from his sins, he would be saved, that is, spend eternity in Heaven and not Hell. Millions of people around the world, including me, believe this also.

But you say, I see no evidence of God. I can’t see, hear, smell, touch, or taste Him. If a deaf person can’t hear a baby cry, does that mean the baby isn’t making crying sounds. If a blind person can’t see a beautiful sunset, does that mean it isn’t beautiful. You get the idea. Lots of folks believe in many things that they can’t verify with their senses. Here’s a partial list: UFO’s, life on other planets, reincarnation, ghosts and psychic predictions. Why then do many people refuse to believe in the possibility of a Creator? Maybe you feel that you’re not good enough. God will meet you where you are. Maybe you feel that you don’t want someone telling you what to do. Guess what, if God is real, then you’re not wanting someone to tell you what to do is irrelevant, because He already is in control of your life. Maybe it’s against the religious tradition you’ve been taught all your life. How many things have you realized that your parents and elders were wrong about, especially if they taught you things that they were taught, but didn’t necessarily believe?

Why am I telling you this? I want each and every one of my friends and family to spend eternity with the Lord Jesus, in heaven. I am also being selfish, because I want to spend eternity with you also. Everyone will live forever in eternity, the only question is, will you be in heaven with God, Bill and me, or in hell with everyone else who chose not to have a relationship with Jesus. I know some of you might “unfriend” me because of this post, but I know that you’re really not rejecting me, but the One who I love and worship. I will still love you and miss you if you unfriend me, but I can be silent no longer. Remember, tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Bill was drinking coffee on the morning he died, not thinking anything extraordinary would happen.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you and ask that you search out the truth yourself. Don’t just take my word for it.

The Role of Israel In The Book Of Romans

Many casual readers of Romans believe that Paul’s writing of chapters 9, 10, and 11 is parenthetical, in the Book of Romans; just as Tamar’s story is parenthetical in Genesis 38. While Tamar’s story is indeed parenthetical, Paul’s discussion of the Jews is not. These are the same people who assume that these 3 chapters in Romans are the only time Paul discusses the Jews in the Book of Romans. Galatians 3:28 states: 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” While it is true that both Jews and Gentiles are equal before Christ, there are lessons that can be learned by looking at Israel’s relationship with God that are applicable to both.
The beginning of chapter 2 appears to be a continuation of Chapter 1, which speaks of the Gentiles and their guilt. Warren W. Wiersbe, however, in his book, BE RIGHT (A NEW TESTAMENT STUDY – ROMANS), tells us on page 25: “Bible scholars do not agree on whom Paul was addressing in Romans 2:1-6”. Further down the same page he states: “But it seems to me that Paul was addressing his Jewish readers in this section. To begin with his discussion of the Law in 2:12-16 would have been more meaningful to a Jew than a Gentile. And in 2:17, he openly addressed his reader as ‘“a Jew”’.
Paul then admonishes the Jews by saying that they teach the Law, but asks if they follow it. Chapter 2:21-24 states:
21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.
Paul goes on to tell us in verses 28-29: “28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” In Chuck Smith’s book, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GRACE, he tells us on page 19 that “The Jews were trusting in the Mosaic ritual of circumcision for their salvation, but their disobedience of the spirit of the Law invalidated the ritual.”
Paul starts Chapter 3 by stating “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Paul then goes on to explain why this wasn’t enough.
Paul summed up the argument and refuted those Jews who tried to debate him. They raised three questions. (1) “What advantage is it to be a Jew?” Reply: Every advantage, especially possessing the Word of God. (2) “Will Jewish unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness?” Reply: Absolutely not–it establishes it. (3) “If our sin commends His righteousness, how can He judge us?” Reply: We do not do evil that good may come of it. God judges the world righteously. (Wiersbe pg 29-30)
Scripture tells us that all have sinned and Paul then goes on to quote the Old Testament to show that this is not just a First Century problem.
Although not speaking directly of Israel, Paul uses the Old Testament figures of Abraham and David to show that we are justified by faith, not by works. Abraham is one of the most highly revered figures in Judaism, and considered the father of the Jewish people. Chapter 4 starts out in verses 1-4 to state:
What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” 4Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Paul also quotes Psalm 32:1-2 to show that David understood that righteousness is by faith, not by works.
As I previously stated, many Christians consider Romans 9, 10 and 11 to be parenthetical to the Book. They think that Paul is speaking only to the Jewish Believers in Rome. Without further study, it might appear that way. While Paul is speaking to the Jews, it is not just for the benefit of the Jews but also the Gentiles.
Paul starts out with a very interesting comment in Romans 9:1-5:
I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen[a] according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
Paul is mirroring Moses’ intercession after the Israelites built the golden calf in Exodus 32:32 “32Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” I have to admit that on a trip to Israel in 2001, I was able to pray the same prayer as Paul. It’s a deep prayer, but I made it in the knowledge that no one can be “snatched” out of Jesus’ hand, according to John 10:28:” 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” I’m not sure that Paul had that same assurance when that he prayed his prayer.
When Romans was written, Israel has corporately rejected God.
At this point in his letter Paul explains that God has removed the national privileges and blessings from Israel. The Jews had enjoyed a most-favored-nation status with God. However, by rejecting the righteousness proved for them through Jesus, the Messiah, the “natural branch” of Israel has been cut off for a time.
In matters of salvation, Israel no longer retains a privileged status. Jew and Gentile alike must come to Jesus, for He is God’s answer to every man’s sin. “All have sinned, and come sort of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption this is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24 – Smith pg 77)
Paul goes on to explain that not all the children of Abraham will be considered Israel. The line goes through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob (Israel). God uses Chapter 9 to show the different says that Israel has rejected Him. First they rejected Christ, then God’s purpose and justice. He concludes Chapter 9 thusly:
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.[n] 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.[o] For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Chapter 10 reiterates Paul’s desire that all of Israel should be saved and
one of the reasons that Israel has rejected God.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel[a] is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Paul was trying to show his beloved Israel that Christ was the only way to God. Using the Law and being circumcised were never enough to impute righteousness on anyone. Only through Christ, or for the Old Testament Saints, the belief that He was coming, can one obtain righteousness and salvation
This brings us to chapter 11. Israel’s rejection was not total. There was, and still is a remnant that remained true to God. “To be sure, there was a faithful remnant in the nation of that looked for His arrival such as Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38); but the majority of the people were not ready when He came. (Wiersbe pg 113)” The same remnant has always existed, but until the early 20th century, those who professed Christ as savior were at times required to deny their Jewish heritage Today it is possible to “be Jewish” and accept Jesus as Messiah.
Paul uses chapter 11 to explain his lineage and proclaim that while Jewish, he is accepting of Jesus as Messiah. In verses 1-6 Paul states:
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?[a] 4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.[c] But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
This is also the chapter where Paul tells us that Israel’s rejection is not final.
God will restore the Jews to His love and favor when He opens their eyes and they receive Christ. The fullness of the glorious kingdom of God will then come. Zachariah testified to this day, saying, “And one shall say to him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zechariah 13:6)…..One day the Jews will realize their blindness and folly. They’ll accept Jesus Christ, and the glorious national restoration of these people will bring in the Kingdom Age (Smith pg 100).
Paul uses Romans to highlight the blessings and follies of Israel as they tried to follow the Lord. He successfully shows that only reliance on the Lord, through faith, brings salvation. By showing what the Jews did correctly and incorrectly, he educated not only the Jews who wanted to believe in Messiah Y’shua (Jesus), but also the Gentiles.

Works Cited

Smith, Chuck, Pastor. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GRACE Costa Mesa CA The Word for Today 1981, Print.

Wiersbe, Warren W. BE RIGHT (A NEW TESTAMENT STUDY – ROMANS) Colorado Springs, CO, Cook Communications Ministries, 2004, Print

Bible Gateway, New King James Version, Holy Bible. https://www.biblegateway.com, accessed 3/10-3/14/17

I’m back. The Lord has been moving in my life

It’s the end of March, 2017 and I’ve become used to my “new normal”. I’m not the person I was before my brain surgery last May. I’ve learned to depend on the Lord for almost everything. By doing that, I’ve gotten a much better understanding of God and how our relationship with Him should work. I’ve been going to Bible College off and on for years, and will be publishing more papers as they are written. I will also be updating my relationship with Him, as He leads.

A Loving Christian Response to the LGBT Agenda

We are the first generation of Christians, in this country, who have had to deal with a growing positive attitude towards, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals. The Supreme Court has decided that Gay marriage should become the Law of the Land. Television shows now feature characters who are gay and in committed relationships, or even married. I find it disturbing to hear a man talk about his “husband” or a woman about her “wife”, either in real life or on TV. God created marriage in the Garden of Eden and Gay marriage is really just another ploy of the enemy to counterfeit that which God planned for good. We need to make sure that this loss of morality in our nation does not cause us to compromise the values of God.

How did this happen? Political correctness did not exist when I was growing up. There were clear rules of right and wrong. And even as late as the beginning of this century, I don’t think most Americans considered homosexuality a normal sexual behavior. While lesbians, gays, and bisexuals have existed as long as civilization has been around, until the last quarter of the 20th century, there was no political agenda for acceptance in this country. The LGBT movement simply didn’t exist. Of course, there have always been lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals; people just didn’t talk about it as part of their daily lives. If homosexuality was discussed, there was usually a hint, or maybe more than just a hint, of disgust. The stereotypes concerning gays were never positive. It was a well know stereotype in the 1970’s and 1980’s that if a hairdresser wasn’t married, he had to be gay. My mother would only allow a woman or married man to be her hairdresser. She wouldn’t take the chance that one of “them” might touch her.

If gay couples lived together, people just assumed that they were good friends and roommates. Even today, no one thinks it’s strange for 2 men or 2 women to rent an apartment together. The vast majority of Americans wouldn’t have thought there was anything more going on. Things started changing toward the end of the last century and beginning of this one. Many homosexual couples had been afraid to let it be known they were in relationships. In addition to the social stigma that went along with homosexuality, in many States, sodomy was illegal. In June 2003, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute concerning sodomy. This also invalidated similar sodomy statutes in other States and basically legalized homosexuality in America.

Men have been dressing and living as women and women as men for centuries. There are documented cases of women dressing like men, so they could fight in wars. There are men who dress as women, even to the exaggerated extreme of being Drag Queens. But it wasn’t until the latter part of the 20th century that surgery was available which allowed individuals, who identified as transgendered, to mutilate themselves so they could have their bodies match their alleged internal gender identity. Most Americans probably became aware of people claiming to be transgendered in the 1970’s when Richard Raskind had gender reassignment surgery and became Renee Richards. She then successfully sued the United States Tennis Association, because they wouldn’t let her play in the US Open as a woman.

So why is any of this history important to us as Christians? I believe it is because in the past 25 years or so, it has become more and more politically correct to accept the homosexual lifestyle as normal. Even in the psychiatric world, where homosexuality was once classified as a mental disorder, it was decided that it was within normal parameters for people to be attracted to the same gender.

As believers, we need to remember that we have to treat Christians and non-Christians who live or promote the LGBT agenda differently. It goes without saying that we can never approve of homosexuality, bisexuality, or those who claim to be transgendered. We must remind ourselves, however, that those who practice this God abhorred lifestyle, and don’t know Jesus, are not going to hell for their sexual sin. They, like all other Christ rejecters, will face the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15. “11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (NKJV)”.

We know that the Kingdom of God is the rule and sovereign reign of Almighty God. We also know that God’s Will isn’t perfectly realized today; but will be in the age to come. We have been blessed to be given a taste of The Kingdom; we need to do that which is pleasing and glorifying to God. Rather than condemning those who are confused about their true sexual identity, we need to concentrate on sharing the Gospel with them. It does no good to tell them that they will go to hell for their lifestyle choices. They need to learn that God will accept them as they are. And it is through their relationship with Him, that He will change those things He wants changed.

But what do we do if a Christian Brother or Sister claims to be homosexual? We need to take them to God’s Word and show them, in love, how God feels about this particular sexual sin. Some people even say that God made them this way. We need to show them that it is impossible for God to “make” someone homosexual, bisexual, or anything in between. He tells us in Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination (NKJV)”. The Lord confirms this in the New Testament in Romans 1:27 “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (NKJV)”. God also tells us that unless a man and woman are married, they need to be chaste. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 says “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion (NKJV)”. If a Brother or Sister struggles with same-sex attraction, we need to counsel them to remain celibate, just as we counsel our unmarried heterosexual brethren.

When considering the case of people who identify as being transgendered, I have not found Scripture that specifically covers this situation. However, Psalm 139:13 states “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb (NKJV)”. The Bible also states that God is perfect, and as Bible believing Christians; we need to take God at His Word. If He made someone with the gender of a male and the inner feelings of a female or visa-versa, then we would have to say that God can make mistakes. Scripture tells us that this is impossible. Psalm 18:30 says “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him (NKJV)”. Matthew 5:48 tells us “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Deuteronomy 32:4 states “He is the Rock, His work is perfect, For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He (NKJV)”

Do we try to navigate a slippery slope in our response to the entire LGBT agenda in order to keep to the straight and narrow, or do we just stand firm in our belief that we will follow God and His precepts. As Christians, we need to decide our responses to many issues. We also need to decide if we are willing to be called closed minded, persecuted, sued, or even prosecuted by the Government for keeping God’s Word. Some Christian business owners have been forced to close or change how they do business, because they were not willing to bake cakes, take wedding photos, or arrange flowers for Gay weddings. Are we willing to stand on God’s Word, no matter what the cost?

Many of us have relatives who live or support the LGBT lifestyle. What do we do if we get invited to their wedding? Do we attend? Marriage is a biblical concept, created by God in the Garden of Eden. God’s plan never included the marriage of same sex couples. I would not attend a Gay wedding ceremony, as this is a clear violation of God’s Word. But then you might ask, “Is it ok to attend the reception”?

Do we turn off television shows that promote the LGBT lifestyle? There are at least 2, possibly 3 new TV series being promoted about transgendered people, one of whom is a teenager. Do we not watch TV shows that show homosexuality as “normal”? And what do we do about companies promoting the LGBT lifestyle as “normal” in their commercials? The other day I saw one about a wholesome snack and it showed various types of “wholesome” families. The first family had 2 dads and a kid. I also saw a commercial for a pain reliever that talked about family and showed both homosexual and heterosexual families. How did we go from, I guess it’s ok if someone is gay, to promoting it? Should we stop buying these products? And why have we relinquished the rainbow, which is the sign of God’s promise not to destroy the earth by flood again, to the LGBT cause?

There are many people who believe that they are Christians and have no idea how to follow the Lord. They don’t see the LGBT agenda as wrong, because they don’t really know Christ. We need to start gently and lovingly reminding them that God is not only about love and forgiveness, but also righteousness and holiness. As followers of Christ, we need to stand up for what we believe. We need to emulate our Lord as best we can, as we live our daily lives. We need to say what we mean and do what we say. When people look at our lives, we need to make sure that they aren’t seeing us as hypocrites. But if I go to a gay reception, watch a particular television show, or buy products that support the LGBT lifestyle, am I being hypocritical?

Like many of my Brothers and Sisters, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions. We need to ask the Lord to not only give us the answers that we struggle with, but to give us the courage and the stamina to make the hard choices. We need to be able to say, “No, I will not come to your wedding” to our gay friends and family members. We need to lovingly let those struggling with sexual identity know that God doesn’t make mistakes. We must stand fast for our Lord Jesus, who died for us. Shouldn’t we be willing to pay whatever price is demanded, for sharing His Love and Salvation with a sinful and dying world?

The Most Important Gift Ever Given

I know I haven’t written for a while, but it’s been an interesting time of growth and depending on the Lord for me. I’ve got something kicking around in my head to share about this time, but I wanted to share this with you now.

When I was growing up I had a normal (for the time) nuclear family. Mom, dad, 2 kids and a dog. One Grandma who was still alive, aunts uncles, cousins, great aunts/uncles. I thought this was the way it was supposed to be. I was surrounded by people who loved me because we were related, and it was good.

Then I grew up and my cousins started getting married so there were “others” who were now cousins and this was good. Then I got married and I got “in-laws” and a whole new family to interact and become a part of. I was surrounded by people who loved me because we were related, and it was good.

During all this time, people I grew up with and loved were dying, because of age or illness. I had less people surrounding me who loved me, and this was NOT good,

Then God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to give me a second chance at love. He sent me a man who loved God and loved me. The funny thing is, we did not share a culture. We shared a loved for God and Jesus and that was enough to build a life and for me to become surrounded by many more people who loved me because we were related and it was good.

God took a twice widowed middle aged barren woman, and surrounded me with people who loved me.. Some who have been there since the beginning. Some, like my great-niece Athena who will be one tomorrow, are new. Some are related by blood, some by marriage, some by our mutual love of God.

He gave a woman who never bore a child a stepson, daughter-in-law and grandkids. I have close to 30 nieces and nephews from my marriages to Michael and Bill. And oodles and oodles of great-nieces and a great- nephew or two.

Ok, so you’re asking why are you sharing this today? Well, part of it is that while God always gives us what we need, exactly when we need it. He doesn’t always give us what we want. On this Saturday, as we await the most important Sunday of the year, please remember, that Jesus died and rose so that you can spend eternity with Him in heaven. As blessed as I am that He has surrounded me with a family that loves me, nothing show God’s love for me (and you) more than His Death (on the Cross yesterday) and Resurrection (from the grave tomorrow).Image

How do you celebrate Messiahmas (Christmas)

When I was young, my parents would hang stockings from our fireplace. There was one for me, one for my brother and one for the dog. I guess my parents didn’t want to deal with explaining that Santa didn’t come to the houses of Jewish kids. My mom also took us to see Santa in the stores. Things were very different in the 60’s.  When my brother was 6 or 7, they decided to tell us the truth and that was the end of the Christmas Stocking and visiting Santa traditions.

 I also remember that every year, on Christmas Day we would get up really early. We would meet Uncle Herbie and Aunt Beryl (dear friends of my folks) and their kids at a diner  on the way to New York City. After breakfast, we would head for New York and park the car. Then came standing in the freezing cold (felt like days but was probably less than an hour) to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show, which if I remember  correctly,  consisted of a Christmas movie of some sort, and the Rockettes. After the show, my dad and Uncle Herbie would argue a bit about which Chinese restaurant they wanted to go to in Chinatown. Funny thing was, neither one of them could remember where we had gone the year before. I remember always going down into some sort of basement/street level restaurant and always having the best Chinese food, I’d ever had.

 Today, I am a Jewish believer in Y’shua (Jesus). When Bill was alive, we would go out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve and then spend Christmas Day with his family. I’ve continued that tradition since the Lord has took him home. This year, however, because I’ve been ill for so long and still need so much pain medication for my shoulder, I think I’m going to have a very Jewish Christmas. My plan this year, is wake up Messiahmas morning, say Happy Birthday Y’shua (Jesus) and go back to sleep. At some point, I’ll go out and get Chinese food and probably watch a movie. I did, however, wish my brother a Merry Christmas today. While he rejects the religious aspects of the holiday, he embraces the traditions of Christmas Eve Mass, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gatherings, presents under the tree to respect his wife and her traditions.

 So how do you celebrate Christmas?