Beloved Family… I’d like to make a suggestion. When you have some quiet peaceful time, ponder what the Holy Spirit is telling you in John 3:1-21. That text concerns Nicodemas and his initial encounter with the Lord. At that time, Nicodemas, along with most of Israel, did not know what to make of Yeshua of Nazareth. They certainly did not regard Him the way so many do today. Many of them held Him in total contempt, as do many of their modern-day descendants! The fact is, that in the first century, many wanted to have Him jailed or even killed!
But Nicodemas saw something special in this young rabbi. Yeshua was intelligent and articulate, charismatic and compassionate. And, although he did not have any of the commonly accepted academic credentials or background, He was amazingly wise and shockingly penetrating when He discussed and unpacked the depths contained in the words of God. Even in the company of Israel’s highly educated spiritual elite, Yeshua was obviously special! So no wonder Nicodemas was curious and felt compelled to try to get to know more about this amazing Man.
Nicodemas Meets God’s Eternal Word Made Flesh
I find John chapter 3 fascinating. There’s so much unspoken revelation-packed into it! No matter how often I read it, I keep seeing more and more precious ‘nuggets’ that God embedded beneath the surface that take us further and deeper than what is actually said. Obviously, Nicodemas doesn’t know what to make of Yeshua. He’s attracted to Him, but can’t understand why. Today, we are convinced that Yeshua was, in fact, God’s Living Eternal Word made flesh. We believe that He was, and is, Israel’s Messiah. But, despite the fact that Nicodemas was a member of the Sanhedrin, Israel’s elite authoritative group of sages, Nicodemas could not understand what this young rabbi was saying; but why not? Why is it always so hard for many Jewish people to recognize and accept Yeshua and His claims?
It will help if we put ourselves in the first-century era sandals of Nicodemas and his contemporary Israelites. They were not able to recognize Yeshua in the writings of Moses and the prophets. So they couldn’t trust and believe His claims, especially when He kept insisting that Israel and her religious leaders still had a lot to learn! At that time, most Israelites believed with all their hearts that they had already arrived at the ultimate level of spiritual maturity and wisdom and understanding of God and His ways and purposes. So, to them, it was, and remains, unthinkable that there could be anyone or anything that would have more to teach Israel than her sages and leaders already know. They remain firmly convinced that Israel has already received from God all that He has to give! Many of Yeshua’s contemporaries assumed they already possessed all of God’s Revelation and that no one would ever be able to legitimately have anything to teach them or take them beyond where they already were in their understanding. To them, the Covenant of Sinai contained the fullness of all Divine Revelation. So there could be nothing legitimate that could ever surpass or improve upon what they already knew to be true.
Given that perspective and attitude, we can see why so many still refuse to have anything to do with Yeshua and His disciples. Nicodemas and his colleagues did not have the advantage of centuries of hindsight that we enjoy. They believed and hoped that, at any moment, God was going to send their Messiah to blast the Roman Empire and its legions to pieces and reestablish Israel’s former Davidic might and glory. The Messiah they had in mind would quickly fulfill all of the glorious prophecies their sages had studied and taught about and discussed for centuries, in their lifetimes!
So there was Yeshua in their midst… a simple, nondescript peasant-level laboring man from the insignificant little settlement of Nazareth in the Galilee region of Israel. He was not schooled or trained in any highly respected school of some elite, highly respected rabbi. And since they assumed that Israel had arrived, and had no need of learning anything more than the well-established traditions of Israel and the learned members of the Sanhedrin had to offer to the people, it was inconceivable to many that someone as plain and poor and lacking in commonly-recognized earthly credentials, as Yeshua obviously was, could possibly be the Messiah that the prophets had promised. But even so, there was something about Him that mystified and strangely attracted Nicodemas. So curiosity prompted him to risk being seen with Him. And so he ventured to visit with Him by night.
Unspoken Revelation to Ponder
I believe that the context in which this meeting took place is literally marinated in the unspoken revelation that Father is giving to us to discover and ponder. And if we do seek to learn what He wants us to see, we will gain much insight and spiritual wisdom and growth that will help the Last Days generations to grow, mature and move beyond where most of Judaism and Christianity currently are, at present.
It’s obvious to modern observers, even if it wasn’t to many first century Israelites, that God’s people and their Exodus still have a long, long way to go before we arrive at the Destination to which Father has promised to bring His faithful people. If you haven’t noticed before, perhaps now you will begin to see that Yeshua was exposing and unpacking some major truths concerning the New Covenant that Father promised He would make with His chosen people, Israel. Through His Hebrew prophets, God was exposing the enormous difference between the Mosaic Covenant of Sinai and the ‘New Covenant’ idea that He introduced through His ancient Jewish prophets, such as Moses (Deut. 18:15-19), Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
Nicodemas was a great example of a Godly, very sincere and dedicated Israelite who was well versed in the knowledge that could be gleaned by people who lived in the days before the coming of Yeshua. But he did not see the fullness and application of the New Covenant and, apparently, even to this day… the chosen people cannot see the differences.
This is why they naturally limit themselves to focusing upon what God has revealed through Moses and some of the other, less controversial prophets in the Tanach. It is true that God’s Message is complete and that it has been embedded within the Torah and the other Hebrew Scriptures. But that doesn’t mean that Jewish and non-Jewish people who love and serve God have fully understood and comprehended it! And that is why I believe so little attention is given to probing the depths of what God had in mind when He said these words through Jeremiah:
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH, not like the covenant (of Sinai) which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Amplification and emphasis added.)
This tells us that Israel had already been told that what Moses had given to them through the Covenant of Sinai was not going to be enough. They were going to need much more than that. And that meant that Israel had not yet arrived. There was still much more wisdom and revelation and insight to unpack and glean about the awesome significance and true understanding of the Fullness of the spiritual Abrahamic legacy that was already theirs. There was still much of it that they did not yet grasp, and thus there was much they could not yet enjoy and demonstrate to the rest of the world concerning the full Plan of God.
So, through Moses, God promised that He would send another prophet to Israel who would emerge from the womb of Israel; and, at the very least, He would occupy a level of importance and significance that would be of equal, or even greater stature, than that of Moses! And, through this promised one, God would supply for Israel, all that would still be missing from their understanding of, and relationship with, Almighty God:
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. YOU MUST LISTEN TO HIM! For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
“Adonai said to me, ‘They have done well in what they have spoken. I will raise up a Prophet like you for them from among their brothers, and I will put My Words in His mouth and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. (TLV. Amplification and emphasis added.)
Dear friends… I maintain that even to this day… ever since Yeshua appeared in Israel’s midst in the first century, most of the people have not taken to heart those awesome words that Moses wrote for Israel in Deuteronomy. Despite his warning that you see quoted above, most of them continue to ignore and refuse to consider the massive shift in Reality and Significance that Yeshua’s coming was meant to bring into this world. They still do not realize His vital necessity and importance for Israel’s future well-being and for that of the rest of the human race and, for the Perfect Fulfillment of all of God’s Creation.
And this is why God’s heart is so grieved by Israel’s habitual unwillingness to regard His Living Word made flesh in a favorable light, or to take His claims and commands seriously. How could God ever be content, as long as Israel continues to stop short of the Fullness that He wants to bestow upon her? The Fullness is only derived from, and contained within, the Person of God’s Living Word – Messiah Yeshua!
As long as people continue to reject Him, they are by that fact, rejecting the Words of God Himself. He had promised that Yeshua would deliver those words to them in His Name, and for their eternal benefit. But, as long as they refuse to embrace their Messiah, they will keep stopping short of being able to possess and enjoy the Fullness that God has destined for them to have. And that is what grieves His Holy Spirit:
“You search the Scriptures because you suppose that in them you have Eternal Life. It is these that testify about Me. Yet you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have Life!
“I do not accept glory from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. But if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the Glory that comes from God alone?
“Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have put your hope. For if you were believing Moses, you would believe Me—BECAUSE HE WROTE ABOUT ME! But since you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My Words?” (TLV. Emphasis added.)
Ponder also these words of Paul, which to first century Israel, were utterly revolutionary in nature, and, to most of her children, they continue to be infuriatingly unacceptable:
2 Corinthians 3:2-11
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
“Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a New Covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
“But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with Glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of Righteousness abound in Glory For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the Glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in Glory!” (Emphasis added.)
When they are linked to Yeshua of Nazareth, proclamations like these always tend to infuriate the religious, unbelieving spiritual leaders of Israel, and their followers, So we can only imagine the consternation and bewilderment that poor Nicodemas must have experienced during his initial meeting with Him! He simply could not grasp what Yeshua was saying to him! The depth and mysteriousness of His words left Nicodemas at a loss for what to think or how to respond. The Holy Spirit was spelling out what the difference is between Israelites like Nicodemas, and other Israelites, like Yeshua’s apostles, who were spiritually equipped to recognize and embrace Yeshua for who He really was. They were able to do that by faith! That is, they began to receive from Him the Fullness of what God had originally promised to give to Israel, through the New Covenant impartation of the Holy Spirit! But Nicodemas’ spiritual inability would not allow him to recognize who and what Yeshua really was (and always will be).
From that exchange between the Lord and Nicodemas, we can see that Nicodemas was really missing the point of the New Covenant and was still being prevented from entering into the Fullness that Father desires to impart to His chosen people through it. He didn’t realize that Yeshua was actually launching God’s New Covenant and would very shortly begin to spread it from Israel to the farthest reaches of the entire world! The Covenant of Sinai was not the end of what God intended to give to His people; it was only the beginning! God intended to do and give much more to His people than what they currently possessed and understood.
And this is what all of Israel must one day finally come to realize. Unless they actually begin to heed all of their prophets and repent of their antagonism and mistrust and enmity with God’s Living Word whom the prophets were announcing, the chosen people won’t be able to become one with their True Messiah! And, even if they are well versed and familiar with their Scriptures, and in the traditions instituted by their sages throughout the centuries, God’s chosen people will not be able to fulfill all of their awesome God-given purpose of being a blessing to the rest of the world! If they reject what God commissioned His Living Word to impart to and through Israel, they are rejecting the Living God, who spoke and entrusted His awesome beloved Son and Word, to bring them into the New Covenant!
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
“Therefore, having such a hope, we act with great boldness. We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face in order for Bnei-Yisrael not to look intently upon the end of what was passing away. But their minds were hardened. For up to this very day the same veil remains unlifted at the reading of the ancient covenant, since in Messiah it is passing away. But to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart. BUT WHENEVER SOMEONE TURNS TO THE LORD, THE VEIL IS TAKEN AWAY! Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Ruach Adonai is, there is freedom. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to Glory—just as from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (TLV. Emphasis added.)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
“Look, your house is left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!’” (TLV. Amplification and emphasis added.)
This is the anti-Yeshua behavior against which Moses had previously warned his fellow Israelites:
“Now whoever does not listen to My Words that this Prophet speaks in My Name, I Myself will call him to account!” (TLV. Emphasis added.)
So by pondering these texts in the context within which God gave them to us, we can see how serious Israel’s situation continues to be, throughout the centuries, as long as she remains unwilling to recognize, embrace and obey her resurrected Messiah. And conversely, the Church will remain stunted and hobbled as long as she fails to recognize and embrace Israel, and her vitally important role in God’s Plan for the Full Restoration of all Creation! So the implication of this seems to be that, as long as Israel continues to reject her Messiah, the world will continue to reject Israel! And, as long as non-Jewish believers continue to reject and try to bypass Israel, they too will be stuck in disobedience to God’s Word. And until this standoff is broken, neither group will be able to fully complete and fulfill its God-given calling and purpose. They will either do it together, under Messiah’s Headship, or they will not do it at all! So allow me to repeat this: as long as Israel can’t be completely fulfilled, then neither will the Gentile Church be completely fulfilled. For the Church’s share in God’s Fullness can only be derived from her participation in the Fullness of God’s chosen people, Israel! (See Matthew 25; Romans 9-11, & Ephesians 2)
“Then Adonai said to Abram, “Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you (in the overflow of the Fullness of the Blessing that I will give to you), all the families of the earth will (also) be blessed!” (TLV. Amplification and emphasis added.)
“But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Insofar as I am an emissary to the Gentiles, I spotlight my ministry, if somehow I might provoke to jealousy my own flesh and blood and save some of them. For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
So, beloved, what were Nicodemas and his fellow Covenant of Sinai Israelites missing while they remained apart from Yeshua? What were His apostles and disciples missing, including Saul of Tarsus, when Yeshua first encountered them and summoned each one of them to follow Him? Why wasn’t it enough for them to be ‘Good first-century Torah-observing Israelites?’ What more did they need? The awesome promise God made to Abram of Chaldea gives us the answer:
“My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (TLV. Emphasis added.)
How will Israel be a blessing to the rest of the human race? Well, she has already been an enormous blessing by all that God has given to the world through her by means of the revelation given in God’s written Word and by the many practical contributions Israel’s people have made in whatever society they have visited or in which they have resided. But there’s much more of a Blessing that Israel is destined to be part of in the days to come. The Fullness of God’s Blessing will come when Israel’s Messiah is fully accepted and embraced and universally recognized and established by the Jewish people as their Messiah King… and Supreme Lord of the entire spiritual and material universe!
“But you will receive Power when the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) has come upon you; and you will be My (the Messiah’s Israelite) witnesses (testifying martyrs) in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth!” (TLV. Amplification and emphasis added.)
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Yeshua stood up and cried out loudly (to His fellow Jews who were packed into the temple confines), “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, ‘out of his innermost being will flow rivers of Living Water!’” Now He said this about the Ruach (the Spirit), whom those who trusted in Him were going to receive; for the Ruach was not yet given, since Yeshua was not yet glorified.” (TLV Amplification and emphasis added.)
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper so He may be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him. You know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not abandon you as orphans; I will come to you. In a little while, the world will no longer behold Me, but you will behold Me. Because I live, you also will live!
“In that day, you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”
Judah (not the one from Kriot) said to Him, “Master, what has happened, that You are about to reveal Yourself to us and not the world?”
Yeshua answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words. And the Word you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while dwelling with you. But the Helper, the Ruach ha-Kodesh whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything (that is, He will ‘make alive’ in you everything) that I said to you.” (TLV. Amplification and emphasis added.)
So, dear friends, we can see that when people receive the Fullness of the New Covenant Gift of God’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit will equip and empower God’s Jewish and non-Jewish people to be able to recognize and acknowledge and proclaim Yeshua to the rest of the world, for all that He really is! And, as one New Man, united by their union with their Messiah, they will all fall at His feet, TOGETHER, in total submission to the Living Word of the Living God! So, despite the fact that Nicodemas and his fellow Covenant of Sinai Israelites were good, devoted, Torah-observing Jews… that was not enough to completely fulfill the Plan of Almighty God! No one, not even Israel, can afford to merely embrace the current status quo of Judaism and Christianity, and leave it at that! God will not allow anyone to reject Israel’s Messiah, and ‘get away with it,’ nor will He allow anyone to harm, demean and reject His chosen people with impunity! So always remember the warning that God inspired Moses to write down in the Torah:
I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their brothers. I will put My Words in His mouth, and He will speak to them all that I command him. Now whoever does not listen to My Words that this prophet speaks in My Name, I MYSELF WILL CALL HIM TO ACCOUNT!” (Emphasis added.)
“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me!’ (Emphasis added.)
Beloved friends, can you see what we Last Days disciples must have, in order to be properly equipped and prepared to fulfill our purpose and commissions, now that God has already initiated and launched the Era of His New Covenant with Israel? It’s very simple. It isn’t a ‘what’ that we need. It is a WHO! We must open ourselves entirely to God’s Living Word made flesh! And in order to do that, we must have the New Covenant Gift of the Holy Spirit. He is given to us by God, to make Yeshua, the Living Word, overwhelmingly real, and alive and fruitfully productive…to us… within us… and from within our united midst! When that finally happens, we are able to make our resurrected Lord known, loved and believed and obeyed by the rest of the human race. And then all of the vast expanses of God’s Creation can be restored and fulfilled!
So, when we embrace Yeshua wholeheartedly… He is free to impart the Fullness of the Holy Spirit to us. And then the Spirit can equip us to be living testimonies that demonstrate the Truth and Reality of His Resurrection and all of His claims and promises that were given to the world through God’s written Word. But we cannot have the Fullness of the Holy Spirit unless and until Messiah Yeshua possesses and enjoys the Fullness of Love, Trust, Devotion and Covenant Loyalty that God requires His chosen Jewish and non-Jewish people to render to Him… TOGETHER… AS ONE!
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
“It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard (believed and were ready to obey) this, they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men. And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the Kingdom of God.
“But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the Word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.”
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the Truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. HE WILL GLORIFY ME, FOR HE WILL TAKE OF MINE AND WILL DISCLOSE IT TO YOU! All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that HE TAKES OF MINE AND WILL DISCLOSE IT TO YOU!” (Emphasis added.)
1 Corinthians 4:18-20
“Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their POWER! For the Kingdom of God does not consist in words but IN POWER!” (Emphasis added.)
And so beloved friends… we can see that well-meaning, but soul-driven religious people, like Nicodemas, do everything they can to achieve whatever can be derived from the created outside religious sources they manage to stumble across. Whatever may be intellectually amazing and beautiful and startling, and whatever stirs up the soulishness within them, is what keeps driving them to get more and more of the same. But all of that is created and temporary. Thus the education and personal religious discipline… and the correct religious affiliations… and man-made structured systems… and personal associations with religious elite people that they seek… are not able to connect them to God and make them righteous and acceptable in His sight. There is no substitute for God’s Holy Spirit and Living Word, working from within us.
What God has always had in mind to give to the world through His New Covenant with Israel is not something created. It is… HIMSELF! Beloved friends, when Father is able to impart Himself, through the awesome Gift of His Word and the Holy Spirit, who makes the Word real and alive and fruitful within human hearts, Divine Electricity suddenly fills our inner being… and all the lights in our innermost ‘control panels’ are suddenly activated and they light up with the Wisdom of God! And suddenly, in our heart of hearts, WE KNOW things that in the past we could not have ever imagined possible!
We can’t explain or define or comprehend HOW we know… but we know that we know, beyond the shadow of any doubt! By some unexplainable miracle of Grace… Heavenly knowledge is imparted to us from within! This New Covenant knowledge doesn’t come from our senses, or our intellectual processes, or our religious striving. None of the workings of our own souls and nervous systems, or those of the people around us, can produce such Heavenly results. They only come when we receive an internal spiritual connection with God Himself. And then His Perfect Presence imparts this intuitive certainty that only God can ‘download’ into our regenerated spirits! This is a pure gift from God! All of a sudden He puts us in touch with His electrifying Reality in a totally supernatural way. He makes us aware, with unshakable certainty, that He is real and actively present within us. And we begin to experience the awesome changes that His Fiery Presence is making within us. And we experience the results that come when He is doing what only the Living God is able to be and do, to us and in us and through us! And that is what people like Nicodemas are not able to understand… yet.
Oh, what a difference that Spirit-given knowledge makes, once it finally happens to a once blind and deaf child of Adam. If you don’t believe it, ask those who have experienced it! If you do, they will no doubt tell you something that will be very similar to what the apostle Paul told the world:
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you. However, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the Body of His Glory, by the exertion of the Power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Emphasis added.)
So now, let’s see how our friend T. Austin-Sparks put it in an online devotional:
We stand by revelation, “God who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV)
“God… called me through grace to reveal His Son in me.” – Gal. 1:16.
How are we going to be made to stand, to be established? How is this endurance going to be put in us? By knowing the Lord Jesus in this inward way; by revelation. The people who are going to stand, are those in whom this thing has become a living revelation. “God hath shined in our hearts,” this is one side. The other is, “pressed on every side, perplexed, pursued, smitten down… yet not unto despair” – 2 Corinthians 4:6-10. We are troubled and pressed down… why? “That the LIFE of JESUS might be made manifest in our mortal bodies” – 2 Corinthians 4:11.
Is not that endurance? Pressed on every side yet not strangled! “In pressure, Thou hast enlarged me” – Psalm 4:1. What was meant to be “pressed down,” God has made for enlargement. Cast down, yet a wonderful rising up. Why? How? It is “God who hath shined in our hearts… in the face of Jesus Christ,” therefore you can go through and survive. Nothing can carry us through but the revelation of the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit in our hearts; an inside knowledge of Him – not mental assent to a creed or a doctrine, but a living, vital reality in our very being.” (Emphasis added.)
Dear Family… once God’s New Covenant Gift has been given to you, you will never be the same. The Truth of God Himself, serving as your inner Life, will progressively set you free from all of your past worldly entanglements and misconceptions. You will have the level of personal assurance necessary for being able to live by the intuitive gift of faith… and not by normal human sensory sight and reasoning, as you once did. And the knowledge you receive will be unassailable. Nothing will be able to talk you out of it or snatch it away from you. You will be utterly protected from interfering demonic delusions and deceptions from that point forward. You will be given the ability to understand what Paul was saying to the Galatians when he wrote these words:
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Good News proclaimed by me is not man-made. I did not receive it from any human, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Yeshua the Messiah.
For you have heard of my earlier behavior in Judaism—how I persecuted God’s community beyond measure and tried to destroy it. I was even advancing within Judaism beyond many my own age among my people, being a more extreme observer of my fathers’ traditions. But when God—who set me apart from birth and called me through His grace—was pleased to reveal His Son to me so I would proclaim Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with any human. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who were emissaries before me, either.
“Instead I went away to Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to visit with Peter, and I stayed with him fifteen days. But I saw no other emissaries except Jacob, the Lord’s brother. (In what I’m writing you, before God, I do not lie.)” (TLV. Emphasis added.)
The Lord Himself was fulfilling the New Covenant promises that God made to Israel, in very striking ways with His own first-century disciples. What those blessed Israelites were being given was something that their contemporary fellow Israelites knew nothing about! This was world-shaking and revolutionary. It was a Force that was able to bridge the infinite gap that exists between actions that are done by the strivings of men… and Actions that God reveals as He transmits their results into time and space. It is the difference between what men try to accomplish in their own strength and wits, as opposed to what God has already done in Eternity, through His Word’s Perfect Finished Work of Creation and Redemption!
May the day arrive soon, when we are all able to know Almighty God in the Holy Spirit, by His Power… so that our experience of His Fullness may set us forever free from having to trust in our own grossly skewed and limited sensations and understanding, or that of any other created being, human or otherwise. It will happen… as soon as we believe and submit and embrace God’s Living Piercing, Penetrating Word… with all of our heart and soul and might and strength. When we welcome and become one with Him like that… He will do the rest. And suddenly we will realize that the Fiery Presence of Almighty God actually is at work from deep within us… making the changes and producing the Heavenly Fruit that only the Presence of the risen Lord of lords could cause to emerge within us and all around us.