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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A character Study of Joseph (Jacob’s son)

Although we meet Joseph when he is a baby, we start to learn about him when he is 17. We know that Rachel, his mother, has died and that he is Israel’s (Jacob’s) favorite son. The first we hear of him is in Genesis 37:2, where we are told that Joseph felt the need to bring a “bad report of his brothers” to Jacob while they were tending the flock. This did not endear him to them. They hated him and would not listen to anything he said. While his brothers were getting angrier and angrier at him, his father Israel loved him so much that he made Joseph a special coat of many colors. This did nothing to help his relationship with his brothers. The Lord then sent Joseph two dreams. He shared both with his brothers and the second with his father. Jacob rebuked him by saying in Genesis 37:10b and 11”   10 …….‘What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you’” 11 And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”

Doing research online and in my study bible, I found that most commentators think that Joseph, at this point in his life, was protected by his father and was rather naïve. Upon reading these verses originally, I felt that Joseph was full of himself and extremely prideful. He was his father’s favorite, even though Rachel had also given Benjamin to Jacob. The NKJV Life Application Bible has an article on Joseph on page 75. The article states:

“As a youngster, Joseph was overconfident. His natural self-assurance, increased by being Jacob’s favorite son and by knowing of God’s designs on his life, was unbearable to his 10 older brothers, who eventually conspired against him. But this self –assurance, molded by pain and combined with a personal knowledge of God, allowed him to survive and prospe where most would have failed. He added quiet wisdom to his confidence and won the hearts of everyone he met—Potiphar, the keeper of the prison, other prisoners, the king, and after many years, even those 10 brothers.”

To be rid of their annoying brother, his older brothers sold him as a slave. He ended up in the house of Potiphar. Scripture tell us in Chapter 39:2a “The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man.” Joseph used this time to allow the Lord to start working in his life. Whether he was a spoiled brat or a naïve teen, he saw that the Lord was with him and allowed the Lord to start changing him. Potiphar also saw that the Lord was with Joseph and gave him charge of his house. Joseph was also developing a very strict sense of right and wrong. Scripture doesn’t tell us if he learned it as a youth, or if God impressed it upon him in Egypt. When Potiphar’s wife repeatedly tried to seduce him, he repeatedly refused her. One day, despite his protests, she was able to frame him for being with her. Potiphar was so angry that he immediately threw Joseph into prison.

Verses 21 and 22 tell us “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing.”At both Potiphar’s house and in the prison, Joseph chose to work as if working unto the Lord. We have no indication that he was angry with Potiphar or his wife. The keeper of the prison also put most of the control of the prison under Joseph and trusted him, because the keeper knew that God was with Joseph.

At one point of Joseph’s stay in prison, both Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker were thrown in prison. Each had a dream and the next morning Joseph saw them and saw that they were sad. Chapter 40 verses 7 and 8 state: So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, ‘Why do you look so sad today?’ And they said to him, ‘We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it’ So Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.’”. Joseph was becoming more and more aware that God was in control. He interpreted the two dreams and then asked the butler to remember him to Pharaoh, which he forgot to do. Again, there is no record that Joseph was angry or upset. He was still allowing the Lord to work in and through him.

Two years later, Pharaoh had two dreams that no one could interpret. This is when the butler finally remembered Joseph. Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and asked to interpret his dreams. In Chapter 41 verse 16 Joseph tells Pharaoh “16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” Joseph, through the power of the Holy Spirit tells Pharaoh what his dreams mean and that he needs to appoint someone he can trust to store up supplies for the seven lean years that will be coming. Pharaoh appointed Joseph as the man he could trust, because he recognized that God was with Joseph. Scripture tells us that Joseph was 30 when this happened, so that means he spent 13 years allowing the Lord change him into the person the Lord needed him to be.

The famine that plagued Egypt was not contained only in Egypt. Canaan, where Joseph’s family still dwelt was also afflicted by the famine. Jacob sends his 10 older sons to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph, as Governor, was responsible for selling all the grain, to make sure that it was fairly given out. This meant that Joseph’s brothers had to meet with him to get the grain. He recognized them, but they didn’t recognize him. Joseph decided to test his brothers to see if they had changed in the intervening years. He made them promise to bring Benjamin and kept Simeon as ransom. Jacob did not want to let Benjamin go, but Rueben and Judah both said they would take responsibility for Benjamin. The first thing they did when they saw Joseph was confess that they found the money they had brought to pay for the first portion of grain, back in their sacks. Joseph continues to test them by putting his cup in Benjamin’s pack. As punishment, Joseph was going to have Benjamin stay with him as his slave, but Judah pleaded with Joseph to let Benjamin go and let him be his slave instead. This was a true turn-around for Judah who had been the one to instigate his brothers to sell Joseph in the first place.

At this point, Joseph knows that his brothers have changed and he reveals himself. Scripture tells us in Chapter 45 verses “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” It also appears that the dreams that the Lord sent Joseph when he was 17 came true. The Lord’s Word is Truth,

Jacob decided to elevate Ephraim over Menasseh when he blessed them. Due to his heightened sense of right and wrong, Joseph didn’t think this was right. He should have known, because the Lord chose his grandfather Isaac, who was not the first born and his father Israel, also not the first born, to fulfill some of His promises to Abraham.

The Lord used Joseph mightily and during all the circumstances that one would judge as being negative in a worldly way, God grew Joseph to become the man He needed him to be during the crisis in Egypt. This was the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s prophesy to Abram in Genesis 15:13 13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.

Works Cited

Bible Gateway, New King James Version, Holy Bible. https://www.biblegateway.com, accessed 7/08-7/10/17

ARTICLE ON JOSEPH on page 75 in the “ Life Application Study Bible – New King James Version”. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Wheaton, IL 1989, 1996 (Notes). Print.

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

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

Ruach HaKodesh

In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is actually called the Ruach HaKodesh. HaKodesh is easy to translate. It means “The  Holy”. Ruach, however, can be translated among other things as wind, spirit, breath. So in English, we call the part of God that resides in all believers The Holy Spirit.

Last week, 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 the Holy Spirit can move quickly into our lives. He usually is gentle and caring and doesn’t rush us, but when a storm is coming, He can 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 life, is also residing within us and is there to be our anchor, our help, 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 in my life. 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. In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is actually called the Ruach HaKodesh. HaKodesh is easy to translate. It means “The  Holy”. Ruach, however, can be translated among other things as wind, spirit, breath. So in English, we call the part of God that resides in all believers The Holy Spirit. Last week, 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 the Holy Spirit can move quickly into our lives. He usually is gentle and caring and doesn’t rush us, but when a storm is coming, He can 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 life, is also residing within us and is there to be our anchor, our help, 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 in my life. 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.