RTE: Joseph

Road to Emmaus:
Joseph

Genesis 50:20
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Ok, raise your hand if you have heard this story.

I can’t see your hands so I’ll just tell you.

First I’ll tell you about this moment, then I’ll tell you how they got to this moment.

Joseph, the son of Jacob – Israel, is the prime minister of Egypt, this is the time of the great famine of seven years.

I have attached this post which I wrote, in which I show a portion of Joseph’s promotion to Egypt’s highest position just under Pharaoh.

At this point Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers who had sold him into slavery.

Joseph could have been bitter against them, and may have taken the opportunity to give them a taste of what they gave him, but had ultimately forgiven them (Genesis chapters 42-45).

Forgiven from what? You ask? I’ll get to that.

Joseph has a greater insight throughout his lifetime ordeal, he has consistently honored God, and has demonstrated over and over that he trusted, even in the trial.

His brothers had hated him for several reasons, mostly jealousy. They never really ever learned how to relate to him.

All they could ever see when they looked at him was red, he was in their way, and would have killed him if they were unanimous.

Now, their experience with the man of Pharaoh is a humbling experience. They don’t know this is their brother, only that he has great authority.

It never fails, every time I read through this chapter, it always brings me to tears. I love the way that he loves his brothers; he is tender with them. He has this awesome authority, yet he is tender with them!

Forgiveness!?

No, it’s so much better, he has wiped it completely out.

He is looking more at what God was working out (Romans 8:28-29), molding him into being who he is today for more than his own benefit but for all the people who would be saved by his work.

Now, let me take you back to his youth, when he was just a young man.

In this link, if you would like to read it, I will give another bit of Joseph’s experience. I think I’ll expound on that as well.

(“Adam Hues” is also a series looking at several aspects of Jesus’ humanity, you might like it.)

Their story begins in Genesis 37.

Joseph has been favored by his father, Jacob. Joseph was one of two sons that his wife Rachel gave him before her death.

The rest of the sons were from 3 different wives, one of which was Rachel’s sister Leah, and the other two were servants of Rachel and Leah.

They were 12 sons, and Joseph was the favorite.

Joseph had dreams, literally, not just the kind that you have to become or to have, they were plans that God had for him, giving Joseph glimpses of his future.

He told his father and brothers his dreams, and his brothers hated him for his dreams, as well as being the favorite.

One day, his brothers were out with their father’s flock, a long way from home, and Jacob wanted an update about his sons’ business, so he sent Joseph to bring him news.

When they saw him coming they started plotting to kill him, but one of the brothers was opposed to killing him.

Instead, while Joseph was still approaching, they decided to throw him into a pit. They might have killed him otherwise.

While the opposing brother was gone the others decided to sell Joseph into slavery to be rid of him forever.

That alone was heartless, what they did next was cruel and devious, as well as heartless.

They took Joseph’s coat, they ripped it up, then they killed a baby goat and drenched Joseph’s coat in the blood of the kid (baby goat), and they brought it to their father.

For some 13 years they let their father believe Joseph was dead.

The next season of Joseph’s life also has spiritual revelations, but I will bypass them because of the distraction and length it would be.

So now we come to the revelation to his brothers, and his acceptance of God’s will regardless of his own trial.

I sense nothing from Joseph but love and restoration with his brothers, his family, and his father.

As I had originally considered Joseph’s parallel to Christ, my focus was only on the coat of many colors (colours).

The way it was ripped up, drenched in the blood of the baby goat, and the presentation of it to Jacob.

I believe I have sufficiently addressed the crucifixion of Christ throughout my journey down the Road to Emmaus.

You can read any of them and find my perspective of the crucifixion.

Yet, if you are reading (one of) my post(s) for the very first time, I will again present what I have seen.

After all, the Old Testament speaks very often of the crucifixion of Jesus to come as of then.

We don’t ever see the crucifixion in the Old Testament, but the parallels are there.

My opening text in this lesson says ..

“…ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good…”

The brothers’ personal animosity towards Joseph resembles the animosity of the religious leaders of Israel.

They knew that Jesus was more than a rabbi, they knew he was more than a prophet (John 3:2). They knew that he had come from God.

Jacob is a parallel of God who sent his son to his brothers, the keepers of the flock.

Jesus spoke a parable about this.

“…But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son…”
Matthew 21:37

In Matthew 21:33-40, Jesus spoke a parable about a man who owned a vineyard, he planted it, and made it flourish.

He had to leave so he let it out, or he leased it to tenants, or renters to work the vineyard.

After some time, he wanted fruit from the vineyard, so he sent messengers to bring back some fruit, but were met with hostility, some were even killed.

Then the owner sent his son, believing that they would honor him, but they took him and killed him as well.

How did they think they were going to inherit the vineyard?

Did they think they were going to overthrow the landlord as well?

My thought is that throughout his lifetime, Jacob saw what kind of men his sons were, even before their deception about Joseph.

I say this because in Genesis 49, Jacob calls his sons to tell them all of his heart before he dies.

He tells them about those things that he has seen in them, disappointments, and expectations lost.

If anyone is at the head, maybe it’s Judah, but not for him, but for the law giver that will come from him.

I believe that the head of the house of Jacob now is Joseph.

Being the right hand of Pharaoh who can challenge him?

Joseph’s brothers are a parallel as well to the Jews; the priests, scribes and Pharisees who wanted nothing more than to be rid of Jesus.

Jesus said…

“…The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not…”
Matthew 23:2-3

To read Matthew 23 is to see Jesus laying out the scribes and Pharisees like filleting a fish.

I don’t believe that Jesus meant it to degrade or defame them, as much as to say that this is not what righteousness looks like.

Righteousness is a life lived in honor and duty to the Lord, to show the way to life and be pleasing to the Lord.

Jesus said…

“…But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in…”
Matthew 23:13

The obvious duty of the righteous is to invite the unrighteous to life in Christ.

The Pharisees and scribes had the keys to eternal life, but were not opening the door for the people, only giving them burdens. That’s another lesson.

Also my thought is that though they had the keys, they did not know how to use them, they did not really pursue holiness, but the image of holiness.

Jesus is brother to the Jews, being one born with all the blood rights to Abraham, and of the house of Judah.

“…Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people…”
Hebrews 2:17

“Made like unto his brethren”, the Jews were not only a religion, they were a physical people. They had flesh, blood, and bones. It was their genetic makeup.

Jesus, to be one of them, had to meet those same requirements.

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

“Made under the law”, this looks to me like the expression of those who inherit the law: the Jews.

When we read Romans 3:2, we see…

“…unto them were committed the oracles of God…”

The oracles, sayings, laws, the commandments.

Then we see in verse 19…

“…Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law…”

It is surely accepted that the law was given to the people of God, the Jews by nature.

The term “Jew” doesn’t show up until 2 Kings 16:6, but they are the people of God.

Even being, as of yet, at the time of Moses, the laws were to the Hebrew people only.

But the rest of Romans 3:19 says…

“…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…”

The inclusion of the world with the Jews brings us all under the same penalty of death, as well as under the same offer of salvation through Jesus.

What did Paul say about this?

“…Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ…”
Ephesians 2:11-13

There are many more scriptures to express the inclusion of gentiles with Jewish blessing.

But this is what I wanted to get to. Joseph had said…

“…But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive…”

Joseph was looking at their known world at the time.

In my past studies of this event, I have seen that in this representation of Egypt that it is a type or shadow of the church.

Pharaoh had said to the people to do what Joseph commanded them to do, so Joseph is the type of Christ in the church.

The grain wasn’t the miracle, it was the allowance of grain throughout the famine, not only for Egypt, but for all the world, had they only come to Egypt.

The grain symbolizes the Word of God, which for the previous 7 years was being stored up until the famine, then the storehouses were opened.

We are Egypt, at least this type of Egypt as the church, we have the grain, and we have access to Jesus (Joseph, as it were).

I think many times that the church has a repelling force in the way we live and speak, so that the world finds no need for what we have.

Rather, the compelling force of the church is a life lived in honor and an attraction to the world, to bring them to Jesus.

We have the grain that they need.

The storehouses are the church houses where they can come and receive from Jesus.

Also, the 7 previous years of plenty represent (to me) the lifetime of the building of scripture; from Genesis to revelation, with the number 7 as the number of completion.

There has been no more scripture given since then. What we have is an abundance of scripture gathered from prophets, scribes, priests, farmers, and fishermen.

Abundance of scripture had been laid up for us, forever.

The 7 years of famine began at the end of the book of the Revelation to John.

Technically, we are in the 7 years of famine, at least for the last 2000 years, and the storehouses are still overflowing in abundance.

Although God has no longer spoken through prophets as he had throughout the Bible, we know that Jesus is the final Word (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Now the storehouses are managed by those appointed in Ephesians 4:11(-14)

Still so much grain, and bread and still so much to see.

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Esther; part 2

Road to Emmaus:
Esther; part 2

Esther 7:8
Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.

In my last post I wrote about how Esther is a type of Christ.

I’m not going to rehearse it, but if you will, please read the link I have put here.

Like in most of my posts, I will make comparisons between the story of Esther while I give you my thoughts of how these relate to Christ.

Christ himself had taught us to know and understand parables…

“…Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given…”
Matthew 13:11

Esther.

At this point, Esther had told the king about the plot against the Jews, and had accused Haman as the enemy of the Jews, and of Esther.

The king gets up from his place and has left the banquet in wrath. It could be that he is giving himself time to consider his actions, and not to be too hasty.

What I see in  this moment is that period while Jesus was on the cross.

“…Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?..”
Matthew 27:45-46

While Jesus was on the cross, there was a period of three hours of darkness.

Jesus expressed his wonder, that in all of his lifetime he has never been separated from God, now his expression is that God has forsaken him.

Esther told the king about the danger to her people and that Haman is the cause of it

While the king is gone, Haman is still there with Esther, but Haman sees the coming wrath of the king, and fears for his life, so he begins to plead for his life to Esther.

Haman is so bold, perhaps it’s desperation that he does not only come close to the queen, but he is literally on the bed where she is on, possibly on top of her.

This is when the king returns and sees that Haman is on the bed with Esther, and it makes him more furious.

He doesn’t give Haman a chance to explain, instantly Haman is condemned.

Paul wrote…

Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…

It’s not like Haman could ever represent Christ, but Esther can.

Esther’s proximity to Haman is to the advantage of Esther. For the king to see this with his own eyes, it’s as if his wrath has gone over the boiling point.

This represents to me how Jesus was in solitary union with sin, also being the Word of God intertwined for the moment so that the fusion (of sorts) would be complete.

Esther and Haman were two separate people, the only expression that can apply at this point is proximity.

The guards pull Haman away from Esther as I believe God did with sin from Jesus in his death.

For Jesus’ experience it literally was killing the patient to kill the disease.

In all of this Esther has not been harmed. I believe this is an expression of the glory of the resurrection of Jesus, whole and alive.

There are still a great many things to see here.

Because Haman not only embodies sin, he is the author of the law that went out to kill all of the Jews, which law among all of the laws of Persia could not be revoked even by the king.

Of the rest of the matters in the book of Esther, I am planning a series to speak of the things that I see.

But for the time being, I want to address the matter of the law.

As the events move forward, Esther pleads with the king to reverse the law of Haman, because her people are still in danger.

As much as the king wants to undo the law, he cannot. The most accepted law in Persia is that no law can be revoked, not even by the king.

But with Haman’s office vacated, the king installs Mordecai, and gives Mordecai the king’s ring to write anything he needs to write in an effort to save the Jews

Mordecai then writes a new law, that the Jews everywhere and in all places stand together and fight for themselves (Esther 8).

This new law seems to overshadow the previous law, and the Jews overcome with great victory.

But understand that the previous law is still in effect.

Colossians 2:14-25
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Colossians 2 is educational and holds out to the believer to continue in the way of Christ.

Being baptized into Christ, and raised again through the operation of God, that is, that God is the quickener, or the one who restores life, that we should continue to live ever seeking to grow in faith.

A great victory has been won for us. Our celebration is the pursuit of godliness. What greater celebration could there be?  All other celebrations come and go.

The Jews in Persia and all of its provinces had a great celebration, but even if it went on for days or weeks, it came to an end.

The end of our celebration transitions from this life in this world to the life in God’s presence in heaven forever.

Because the victory isn’t in a war or battle, it’s the removal of the sin and that now there is a new law which overshadows the previous law that was taken out of the way, but not removed.

“…Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us…”

When you consider the “blotting”, some might say that it is the law. If the law was blotted out, there would be no way for us to know what it said.

Without the law, grace would be empty, why rejoice in emptiness?

Therefore it is not the law. The law is perfect, and shall never be undone (Matthew 5:18).

Catch 22?

No.

You should understand that the law doesn’t make a reservation, or put you on a long waiting time to be executed.

Paul tells us the recognition of sin by the law is instant death, no waiting period, no “dead man walking”. Recognition is the death stroke (Romans 7:7-11).

No, the law cannot be undone, but your sin can be. The evidence of your sin is what was blotted.

It has been nailed to the cross.

It was not only Jesus to be nailed to the cross. If you have been baptized into Christ, then surely your old or former life has been nailed there with him.

Crucify your former life. It may very well be that your former life is Haman.

“…And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it…”

Haman was hanged on the gallows that he made for Mordecai, and what once belonged to Haman now belongs to Mordecai.

Haman has been “spoiled”, a term used of the victor taking the goods of his fallen enemy.

The “spoils” in this perspective is you and me.

Jesus said…

“…When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils…”
Luke 11:21-22

I had long thought that this verse meant that the devil was the stronger man, but have since realized that he is only the strong man, Jesus is the stronger man (Hebrews 2:14-15).

“…he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it…”

The gallows was 50 cubits high (75′ high) (Esther 5:15), it wasn’t done in secret. As Haman thought to do to Mordecai, it was done to him openly, for all to see.

It was known that Haman intended on hanging Mordecai on it, so all the people knew that Haman’s plan had backfired.

Haman is the author of the first law, the law to kill all of the Jews.

You can kill the man, but not the law.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

It’s been understood that this verse means that the law has been undone, it has not.

This verse stands in the context of the previous chapter. Read chapter 7, and see that Paul gives much weight to the validity of the law.

Remember that the law has already shown you your guilt, sin has killed you by the law.

In one aspect, you’re untouchable, the law cannot kill you twice. But that would leave you in a place of condemnation. Without Christ your death leads to eternal separation from God.

So, technically, you’re up for grabs! Who will you choose?

In the other aspect, you’re still untouchable, when you claim your place in Christ you are moved to that place of no condemnation.

But the law is still in place.

Now there is a new law that you must live under, it’s called the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. I had written that the new law seems to overshadow the previous law which was taken out of the way, but not removed.

Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

There is a circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:11), it is in being buried with Christ, and raised again through the operation or creation of God, which cuts away the former life and guilt.

Remember that as Haman was removed from Esther, it represents that sin was removed from Christ.

Its effect for you is like becoming the citizen of a new country with laws that stand apart from the old country and its laws.

Mind you that the old country’s laws are still in effect for that country. As long as you remain in the new country you must live by its laws.

Hebrews 8:13
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Can I make it any clearer that the laws of the Old Testament are still in effect?

They can never be removed, they are eternal.

Even this part…

“…Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away….”

…In all respects it looks like the Old Testament laws are being thrown out.

But look again at its context.

Hebrews chapter seven deals with the priesthood of Christ. This is entirely a whole other lesson, but the essence of it is that there is a new priesthood in Christ.

Christ not being a Levite does not allow him to be a priest on earth.

Besides, the early priesthood was flawed in that each high priest died. Like I said, a whole other lesson.

Christ’s priesthood establishes a new administration of law.

Hebrews 8:7-13 gives us the concept of a new law, which is not a new law but the old law.

Paul wrote…

“…Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory…”
2 Corinthians 3:6-9

There is a letter of the law which kills, and there is a Spirit of the law that gives life.

The ministry, or administration of the Spirit outshines the letter of the law.

Back to Hebrews 8

So, it’s not the undoing of the law, what is passing away it’s the application of the letter. Remember that the law killed you upon your recognition of the law and your sin?

In all reality, you were already dead, you just didn’t ‘recognize’ it yet.

Now, what God intends to do for you (and to you) is to put his laws into your mind, and to write them in your heart.

The double blessing is first that you know him personally, the second is that his laws become your natural tendency to live by, to walk in without any effort from you to try to remember them.

Will we still sin? Yes, the flesh and the spirit will have war until your resurrection. But now you have grace.

“…Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away…”

To close, I would like to give you a few illustrations.

I had said…

“Because Haman not only embodies sin, he is the author of the law that went out to kill all of the Jews, which law among all of the laws of Persia could not be revoked even by the king”

Also

“You can kill the man, but not the law”

We know that in John chapter 1 Jesus is the Word of God, and we know that the Word became flesh and lived among us.

Not that Haman could ever represent Christ, but for the sake of the death of a man, Haman had to die.

Although the law was still in force, the man was out of the way.

Jesus, the body of flesh, was crucified for all the world to see, just as Haman was hung on the gallows for all to see.

The law remained, there was no undoing it, just as even the Old Testament laws remain.

Mordecai writes a new law to mirror the previous law but for the benefit of the Jews.

If we can perceive the Old Testament presence in the New Testament writings we should be able to recognize that the former isn’t the former at all, it’s been reconstituted in a state of grace and mercy.

Remember, Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

The Word of God has not changed, it’s us who have been changed.

The great works of the apostles Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude bring to life the Old Testament in the New Testament, to show us the life God intended for us.

Although Haman meant it for evil, God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20 [watch for this one!]).

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Esther

Road to Emmaus:
Esther

Esther 4:16
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

The story of Esther has intrigued me for a long time. I see much of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the church, even heaven itself in this book.

Though there is no mention of God in this book, it is evident the way he moved throughout this book.

I see a series coming out of the book of Esther in the near future.

I will continue down the Road to Emmaus for a while, at least until the Holy Spirit in me moves me otherwise. 

In consideration of the actual walk to Emmaus, Jesus and the two men could have talked so much more (John 16:12), but Jesus had spoken sufficiently.

 There are still many scriptures that speak of Christ, but I don’t think we’ll exhaust them all.

The story of Judah in Persia continues through the book of Esther.

It’s consistent that the people of God are always in the cross hairs of the enemy, and the enemy shows up consistently, and in different forms.

There is a new enemy, but not new by any means.

His name is Haman, called the Agagite.

Haman is the newly appointed right hand man to the king (Esther 3:1). He is given the highest seat of authority over the princes.

He is a descendant of an Amalekite king named Agag.

You would need to read 1 Samuel 15 to see who these people were.

There is even more backstory (Genesis 36:12 [grandson of Esau the brother of Jacob – Israel]; Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19)

The Israelite king was named Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. Esther and her uncle Mordecai are in the family, and bloodline of king Saul.

So there is true animosity there.

Aside from their personal animosity, Haman is looking at the bigger picture. He wants to repay the debt on a greater level than what was done to his ancestors.

Besides, Haman thought it too small a thing to kill only Mordecai.

Whereas king Saul slaughtered a community of Amalekites (1 Samuel 15), Haman was looking at the Jews across the provinces of Persia.

So Haman spoke with the king and told him of a people in his kingdom who were not a benefit to the king to allow them to live, their laws and customs were opposed to the laws of Persia.

He talked the king into allowing the genocide of a race to satisfy his hatred of a single man.

Haman having the position that he did allowed him the power to write to his heart’s content anything in order to destroy the Jews all across the territory of Persia; 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1).

On a certain day all of the people of this united kingdom were to rise up against the Jews, to kill them all and take what they wanted without restraint.

The king gave Haman his ring to seal the writing into law. Being a law now, it would have to be upheld, and could never be reversed. The law was so strong that not even the king could reverse it.

I’m sure, if you have been long in the church that you already know all of this. At this point I have not said anything new.

Mordecai reads this law and knows that the world (for all intents and purposes) will rise up against the Jews. 

Something has to be done, we cannot just sit around waiting for this day to come and find ourselves unable to withstand this kind of death.

Mordecai begins a lament and cries out openly that Esther hears about it. She sends word to Mordecai to ask him of the matter.

Mordecai sends word back to Esther telling her of the writing, demanding that she go before the king to reverse this letter.

Understand that the king still does not know that Esther is a Jew. Mordecai had instructed her not to reveal this.

Now, Mordecai wants her to plead for the life of Israel before the king.

Esther sends word again to Mordecai that it would be against the law for her to come before the king unsummoned, to do so carries the penalty of death.

The only way to live is that the king holds out the scepter to her at that point.

Mordecai responds…

Esther 4:13-14
Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Mordecai does not back down from Esther, she literally is the Jews’ only hope.

It was for a greater purpose that she has come to the kingdom, for more than her beauty and the love of a king, Esther must answer.

Who would she be if she had not been chosen? But God has seen that this would come to be, and he is the one who has strategically placed her, Mordecai knows this, it’s time Esther did.

“…and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise…”

(Here again I see “Three Days”; those three days are etched in my spirit forever.)

In my study of the “Three Days” of the death of Christ, I never considered Esther’s application here.

Three days is a good number of days to fast. There is a determination that you should meet in fasting, purpose, abstinence of self will. Three days can seem like a long time, one day…!

Although prayer is not spoken of here, it would be obvious that this is the intent, fasting isn’t only not eating, but intentionally seeking God. 

Otherwise you’re only denying yourself with no real purpose. God would love to see your resolve.

Esther now commits to Mordecai’s demand, now seeing her position and proximity to the king.

She calls for a community fast of three days.

God is showing us that three days are a set time for putting everything in a place where it glorifies him and his design.

“…and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish…”

After three days, Esther will come before the king to make a petition for her people.

“…and if I perish, I perish…”

Esther knew there was no way to get around this, she literally took her life into her hands to come before the king without being summoned.

I have long seen that this presentation of Esther represents Christ.

I could give you all of the facets that describe who Christ is in these scriptures, and it would take much time.

But for a reference:

Esther’s identity = Hebrews 2:14-16; Ephesians 2:11-16

Hebrews 9:14
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

This verse, in the context of Hebrews 9 stands in the middle of a question.

The author of Hebrews is asking about how the Old Testament sacrifices could act as the cleansing of the flesh.

The question is…

“…How much more shall the blood of Christ…purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?..”

Notice that I cut out a portion of this verse to clearly see the question.

Aside from the question, the portion that I cut out says…

“…who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God…”

In the position of Mordecai, he is her urgency. Mordecai more than compels Esther to speak up for her people, he gives her the courage to go to the king knowing that she will probably die, but go.

Mordecai, here is the type of the Holy Spirit. He acts with urgency, he moves with passion, he makes compelling statements to Esther for her response.

How often do we ignore the way that the Spirit of God wants to move us?

Like Christ, Esther through the eternal Spirit offered herself to the will of God for her people.

Isaiah 53:7
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Like a lamb to the slaughter. This doesn’t actually look like Esther, but it does to me.

Esther was being led by the words of Mordecai, but I believe even deeper that she is moved step by step internally being urged by the Holy Spirit.

Natural tendencies in man turn on the fight or flight mechanism in us. Self preservation is more than accepted, it’s expected. Esther had to turn all of that off.

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

This is one verse that we look at and consider that we can love our friends and people that we care about, and if need be, to lay down our life for any of them.

But how many people did Esther know? It is literally impossible to know every Jew in the kingdom of Persia.

I don’t have a Facebook account, but if I did, could I really be friends with more than 10 people? Facebook allows you to have an unlimited number of friends. But real friends?

I saw a movie once where the characters were working on a mission to save the planet. One of the characters had died while trying to accomplish his part of the mission. His view was that trying to save the Earth was too big, his courage came by thinking of the three closest people in his family.

So I wonder how much Esther could carry to bring her to be a sacrifice. 

I believe that Jesus looked, or could see across time and see even me, and you to willingly lay down his life without regret, without delay.

Even if he did not literally see us, he knew how great of a harvest would come from his death.

Esther was willing to lay down her life for her country men, women, and children. Just as Christ did for the love of mankind.

Romans 5:6-8
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

“…some would even dare to die…”

In reference to Esther, she dared to die. 

She did not consider how good or not the people were. Man is sinful, would Esther have made stipulations before the sacrifice? Jesus didn’t.

If you know the story, then you know she did not have to die. The king extended the scepter to her and granted her life to her.

Christ did not only dare to die, his death was unavoidable, it had to come, it had to be done.

Crossing from this life to heaven was impossible for man (Romans 3:23), so he became the way (John 14:6).

In Esther, her people would be saved (Galatians 2:16).

John 11:50-52
Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Trying not to make this too much longer, I would like to show you what’s happening here.

Jesus had just raised Lazarus back to life after being dead for four days.

This made the Pharisees and chief priests worry more about the fame and following of Jesus, and they wondered how to stop him.

The high priest Caiaphas spoke to them with the effect of speaking to ignorant men.

He made the point of killing Jesus to end the debate.

“…And this spake he not of himself…”

When he spoke, it was more prophecy than suggestion. I don’t believe that he knew just how much he had said (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).

They were so wrapped up in getting rid of Jesus that they only saw red.

They never even tried to validate the scriptures that told them what to look for in Messiah.

They bypassed the scriptures that prophesied of the suffering that they themselves would inflict upon him (Genesis 22:1-13: Genesis 37; Judges 15:9-13; as well as Esther 4, to name a few).

“…it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people…”

Expedient
G4851
Greek word: SOOM-FER’-O
Literally means: profitable

It was literally profitable for the Jews that Esther would die for the people.

As the story continues, Esther does come before the king, her petition leads her to ask the king to come to her banquet, where and when she tells him of the plot against her life and the life of her people.

Haman is there, also invited, but to bring the enemy into proximity to the king and his wrath.

Oh,I could make this so much longer, I will begin a second post because it also will express more about the crucifixion.

Esther names Haman as the threat, the king leaves for a minute, just enough time to come back to see Haman, who is begging for his life, but looks to the king that he might be trying to force himself onto her (Esther 7:8).

Oh, so much to expound here!

Haman is taken to the gallows (hangman’s structure) that Haman had built to hang Mordecai on, but did not have opportunity. Haman is hanged on his own device.

Hallelujah!!!

The people are not out of the woods yet, the law is still in force.

Esther does prevail, and her people are saved.

I would love to get into that, but I must stop here.

So much to see, so much to say, so much to get wrapped up in, to rejoice in, to give glory to God for, for the Jews in Esther’s day, but oh so much more for the benefit of the people of God through Jesus Christ for us.

Oh!!! Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!!!

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Adam

Road to Emmaus:
Adam

Genesis 3:6
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Yup, for the love of a woman!

There’s a saying in Spanish which loses something in the translation.

It says…

“There is no ox that can pull like a woman can”.

Ok ladies, I’m not picking on you, it’s just an observation.

I’m going to say some things that will seem old fashioned, maybe even abrasive, please know that it all will come back down upon Jesus.

Please hear me out.

In my  post “RTE: Nehemiah”, I introduced the idea of Eve’s sin, and her probable intentions.

But I couldn’t get too much deeper with the length of the post being what it is.

Also, there is the factor of “her husband with her”.

The persistent idea is that Adam didn’t know what he was eating, like Eve ate the fruit, and later gave it to Adam.

Have you ever considered that he was there for the whole conversation, but said nothing?

How about the idea that even knowing that God told them not to eat of the fruit, that he may have been curious anyway?

After all…

“…But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed…”
James 1:14

There’s no way for us to know what was in Adam’s mind or thoughts, surely there were alarms blaring within him, yet he ate what Eve gave him.

Some years ago, my wife and I were talking about this very thing, she suggested to me that he knew what he was doing, and it was probably the only thing he could do to keep her, otherwise the judgement against her would separate them.

Further, she suggested that Christ also has come into our sin, to bear it so that we would not be lost from him for ever.

My wife is amazing!

I thank God for my wife. I tell her that I don’t know what kind of man I would be if I had married someone else. 

She’s been my anchor through my walk in the Lord. 

It was her influence on me that led me to follow and know his calling in my life as a minister of the Word.

The timing of this post is coincidental, being that it is “Mother’s Day” weekend. She is the mother of our four children, who are all grown now.

Her dad was my pastor, and he gave me so much practical insight into the Word of God, as well as his testimony, steady to the end.

When we consider Adam, we only think of the way that he lost it all, we think of the fact that sin is our problem because of Adam. Our thoughts of Adam are not happy thoughts. My pastor once asked, “in his position, how well would you have done?”.

It’s time to give Adam some grace.

Numbers 30:6
And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul…

(This is only a portion of a complete thought.)

In Numbers 30, God had established the law of vows.

God is adamant about keeping your word. It does more than build character, it is a reflection on himself how you honor your word seeing that you are his church.

To break your word is equal to breaking God’s law. It’s that serious.

I’m looking at…

“…wherewith she bound her soul…”

What about this idea of binding your soul?

With the breath of life, Adam became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

Jesus said…

“…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…”
Matthew 12:34b

There is an abundance of words that we speak, and we are accountable for them (Matthew 12:36).

“…wherewith she bound her soul…”

“Wherewith” is a word that speaks (here) of the vow which is spoken, which she has spoken.

“…or uttered ought out of her lips…”

My thought is that as God has breathed in to us, that breath is sacred. The knowledge that as we speak, that which we speak is breathed out of us, shouldn’t we be mindful of what we say, what we promise?

“…Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void…”
vs 13

Here we see that God has set up ground rules for the woman in her vows.

Not like a man, but under the man.

For women, this might seem unfair, but God has established that the man (father or husband) shall be the head of the woman (Genesis 3:16).

The only women who were not subject to a man were widows, and divorced women (Numbers 30:9).

If it seems archaic, ask God, I’m only an observer.

In view of the husband, the woman’s vow is under his authority.

Please don’t shut me out, I’ll be getting to Christ shortly.

If the woman makes a vow, and her husband hears it, he has that day to let it stand, or to make it void (vs 7).

He has one day.

This is because he becomes responsible for her vow. If he lets it stand, then he also must see it through.

If he decides that day that it’s too far out of reasonable reach, he must reject it, and make it void.

God isn’t being unfair.

For starters, he has put the woman under submission to her husband. 

But that’s not the whole of it.

God has a plan and has been setting up the pieces to align when his plan is fulfilled.

“…But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity…”
vs 15

So if tomorrow, or the next day, week, month, or any length of time go beyond the day that he heard of the vow pass, then he decides it is void, now he’s the one to bear the iniquity, or sin of it.

God gave the man the opportunity to retract her vow. If one day seems too short, it’s still on the man.

Back to Adam.

Perhaps he did consider that he would lose Eve. He was connected to her, she was his rib. She was as much his flesh and bone as his own.

I tend to think that Adam loved her so much that his only option was to go all in with her.

She made the wrong choice, I think he made an informed decision.

That day he sealed the “vow”, so to speak, there was no longer any backing out.

“…But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity…”

I would like to suggest that Jesus, as the bride-groom of the church has now spoken up for the church to renounce our vow. 

Being way past the day, he has made the informed decision to bear the iniquity for us.

Ephesians 5:24-26
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Ephesians 5 is general instructions for behavior that believers should build their lives into.

The priorities of believers, men, is to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.

That “it” should be “her”, […and gave himself for (her)…] but that’s me.

I say that because Paul is referencing the husband and wife relationship.

Is it a mystery that the church is the bride of Christ?

In John 3:29, John the Baptist was saying…

“…He that hath the bride is the bridegroom…”

Speaking of the appearance of Christ, that those who will follow him are his bride.

John later says…

“…He must increase, but I must decrease…”
John 3:30

We usually use this verse to say that Christ must become more in me than I am of myself.

But in the context of what he has just said, John is saying, I have come to show them Christ, now I must step back and let him come forward.

So, the bride-groom, and the bride have now connected.

No, it’s not the typical marriage, where there is one man, and one woman, but the symbolism of the bride and the bride-groom is unmistakable.

“…That he might sanctify and cleanse it (her) with the washing of water by the word…”

Adam could not provide the elements that could wash away Eve’s sin. There was no cleansing available.

It could be that Adam sacrificed himself for Eve. It wasn’t enough for him to let her choose for herself, he chose her over himself (Isaiah 53; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 3:18).

Yes, Adam did blame her, I think it was the effect of having crossed the line. Again, that’s just me.

I realize that I’m saying things that may never have been considered before.

I’m not trying to rewrite scripture, but from the perspective of Christ who gave himself for the church, which as the bride represents the woman, it makes sense to me that she (the church) committed the initial wrong.

She (the church) needed Christ to come into her sin, so that as he (Christ) took responsibility for it she would be saved.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Paul had been saying that God was reconciling us to himself in Christ.

Reconciliation is a word that says we were enemies, but have now been brought back into friendship.

This was the price.

It’s like there was a feud between us and him, and would otherwise continue without a truce or peace offering.

One side or the other would have to find a resolution for peace. One side or the other must desire this peace.

It was God (Romans 5:6-8), it wasn’t us. We were in a world of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:4) where God was obscured from our vision.

We knew that there was someone like him, that’s why man made up gods (Acts 17:22-23).

We knew that there was someone to appease, we just didn’t know him, nor did we know how.

Yes, it was God who desired terms of peace.

So…

“…he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin…”

NLT says “the sin offering”. It’s reasonable that Jesus would be the sin offering.

But that he would become sin is more to the point.

He was the sin trap. 

I believe that one sin, no matter the size, makes us full and overflowing of sin, and it’s all God can see.

But for Christ, who never knew sin, nor committed sin, he was like a black hole for sin.

On the cross, God poured out his wrath against sin while Jesus himself was being bombarded with the sin of all man.

This afforded man the surgical precision removal of sin, it’s like all of the dark shadows were being pulled out of us like a vacuum to put us in right standing with God.

“…that we might be made the righteousness of God in him…”

It’s better than a blank slate, or canvas.

It’s better than absolution, pardoning, even forgiveness.

It’s a new creature.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

For a lifetime, the doctrine has been that God has forgiven you. In reality, that old you no longer lives, not in his sight.

There’s no more reason in his sight to ever see you the way you were.

It’s better than God forgetting your sins. It’s a regeneration of your spirit (Titus 3:5). There is much doctrine there, too much to put in this post, but essentially, he has brought you back to life in his sight, in spiritual terms.

Why does it say, “old things are passed away”?

The visual of baptism can be seen as a burial. When you watch someone being baptized, it’s a combination of a funeral and a birthday.

The old you has passed away, and the new you is born (again).

That’s not to say that baptism saves you, baptism is the physical replay of what has happened to you spiritually; baptized into the body of Christ.

Essentially, it’s the birth of the new you.

As far as God is concerned, the new you cannot be held accountable for the old you.

Besides, God has already dealt with it at the cross. It would be double jeopardy.

Galatians 3:27-28
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

This is one of those verses that confuses the church.

We can accept that in Christ there is no more Jew, Gentle (or Greeks), bond or free.

Each of those still need expounding, but the church seems to get hung up on the male and female part

This is not about gender identification, it’s about the new creature.

Naturally, you remain physically as you are, that does not change, what changes is your observation, especially in the perspective of godly things.

For some it is ever so gradual, for others it is accelerated, but it’s in the individual believer’s rate of pursuit.

Mine has come over 24 years of study, yet gradually over those years.

How deeply do you want to know about this life? That’s your answer to your rate of pursuit.

Sisters, this doesn’t mean you have to lose your feminine qualities, God created you as you are by his design, and for his purpose.

There are many scriptures where Paul speaks abrasively about the position of women in the church. Much of that deals with his present culture. There were different ways that the church assembled, not like today. The women of that time were much like today, willful, proud, and arrogant (I’m not speaking of every woman).

There was much ignorance (lack of knowledge) in the early church, much like even today. Paul had to set up ground rules for the church behavior.

Like today, godly women understood their calling of God, men as well. Where has God called you, to what has God called you?

In Paul’s time, he knew godly women, so many of them were fellow workers in and of his ministry. I believe that Paul knew how important they were.

So he’s not being harsh, as much as he’s being true to the calling, and calling all believers to submit to Christ.

I do not believe that women cannot lead, but they, like men, must be obedient to the Holy Spirit; how he leads each of us in this calling.

I will say (and it’s just me), where there is no man full of the Holy Spirit who can minister, then let the woman who is full of the Holy Spirit lead.

The fruit will tell all if the man, or the woman is full of the Holy Spirit, or not.

Please consider that as the bride is subject to Christ, we have been answered for, he’s taken our iniquity upon himself.

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Samson

Road to Emmaus:
Samson

Judges 16:29-30
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.

To start off, I’m going to make some comparisons about Samson as a type of Christ.

I will also make comparisons about Delilah.

Some will seem to be reaching, some will seem to be error, and some will seem to be incredulous, but hear (read) me out.

If you have followed this series of the “Road to Emmaus”, I think you would agree that some of what I have said is discovery, and not quite old news.

If you consider that the Word of God was a mystery until the appearance of the church (1 Corinthians 2:9-10; Ephesians 3:8-11; Colossians 1:25-27), then consider that the bible is a multifaceted diamond, to which no diamond could ever compare. 

The deeper we go, the more we see.

I believe that God has moved me into the next gear in my study, and I want to share it with you.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I would like to express what I see here in Judges 16:29-30.

Samson has been betrayed by Delilah who gave him up for cash.

She shaved his head, which Samson should never have told her the secret of his great strength, especially seeing that she tried every lie he told her.

The Philistine soldiers were there, ready to take hold of him to bind him, and they put out his eyes.

Blinded, Samson was taken to prison where they bound him to a millstone to grind; most likely the Philistine grain.

The Philistines not realizing that Samson’s hair was growing back decided to get together to sacrifice to their god for delivering Samson into their hands.

They brought him into some edifice, large enough to hold a multitude of people, and great enough to hold 3000 men and women on the roof.

The architectural achievement of this building must have been wondrous since the entire weight of the building was held up with only two pillars.

Samson was led to the two pillars in an effort to mock him, to make sport of him.

They never conceived that he could recover his great strength.

“…And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them…”
Judges 16:26

Samson had a plan, as well as the confidence that he would be able to bring down the house, but first he must ask God for the strength, I feel also that he found his repentance.

We don’t ever see that he did repent, he definitely had the time to call on God.

Why would Samson wait until this moment to repent?

I think that most times, we can find ourselves in a predicament where we have shamed the name of God, and have brought this reproach upon our own selves.

Forgiveness seems a million miles away, yet we find the capacity to ask the Lord for one more opportunity to recover all.

Judges 16:28-30
And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

It isn’t written in this passage, that the Spirit of God came upon him at this point. 

Not adding to the scripture, as much as reading between the lines.

In his natural strength, Samson could not have budged those pillars. It surely would have been a jest for him to try.

Note that scripture tells us that his hair began to grow again after he was shaved (Judges 16:22).

It’s not written to take up space, but for the notice that God is about to recover Samson, and display his great power through him.

I believe that the Spirit of the Lord came back upon him to supernaturally move those pillars and to bring down the whole building upon the enemies of the people of Israel.

I believe this, because it is written of him…

“…And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol…”
Judges 13:25

The Spirit of God makes all of the difference.

“…How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?..”
Hebrews 9:14

This verse tells us that the blood of Christ purges (cleanses) our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

But I want to look at this part…

“…who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God…”

Even Jesus needed that internal strength of the Spirit of God to accomplish the work, and to finish it.

The benefit of the Spirit of God upon Samson became a bane for the Philistines.

I really can’t go into all of his feats, and notoriety, just read between Judges chapters 13-16.

It really isn’t hard to see the type of Christ in this event. Samson spread his arms out to the pillars and pushed them away so that the building fell, killing all of the Philistines both inside and on the roof, as well as himself.

So like Christ to sacrifice himself for the salvation of his people.

For the people of Israel, it meant that the Philistines would no longer attack them, or keep them in bondage, at least for that generation. But, Israel was saved that day.

For the church, the sacrifice of Jesus has broken the power of sin, and death, so that we who believe will be saved.

Jesus, like Samson was one of them; “them” being mankind

Hebrews 2:14-18
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

It’s this a lot of scripture? Would you have gone to read it for yourself if I had only put “Hebrews 2:14-18”?

I can’t tell you how many times I have done that.

The main theme in this scripture is that Christ became a man; flesh and blood; of the seed of Abraham.

Have you ever heard the term, “an eye for and eye”?

Throughout the Old Testament, the priests would sacrifice animals in place of man for man’s sin.

But this never took away the sin, it was only a covering that would be remembered every year (Hebrews 10:1-4).

“…Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure…”
Hebrews 10:5-6

This verse shows Christ willingly accepting the intent of God to offer a man (a perfect man) for man.

No more animals in place of man, but the perfect sacrifice, and Lamb of God.

If Samson had been a Moabite, or Ammonite, it would not have made a difference to him whether the Philistines made life hard for Israel.

But, Samson being of the people of Israel made it personal for him.

For Christ, his scope was much broader than only Israel, but for the salvation of all mankind.

“…Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ…”
Ephesians 2:11-13

It would take so much time to explain the gentile roots of Christ, if you would take the time to read the attached post from a separate series called “Adam Hues”

“Adam Hues” is a play on words; Adam means made of earth, Hues is colors.

It was my bid to the church and to the world to put away racism, and hatred, being that we are all of one blood.

I could go on expressing the nature of the man who is Christ Jesus.

Suffice it to say, Jesus has successfully joined the Jews and gentiles in his body, in his sacrifice and in his Kingdom.

About Delilah:

In Judges 16:4, we find that she is described as a woman that Samson loved. It does not tell us that she was a harlot.

But in verse 5 we do see that she is offered money to betray Samson.

Samson loved her, but she loved money.

She wanted the money more than she wanted him, so she used her seduction to get his secret.

Without speaking of their sexual encounters, it would be reasonable that what he wanted was worth a game to him.

So, he lied to her three times, and the third time was dangerously close to the secret.

Didn’t Samson know that she was setting him up?

There were at least three lies, but there were possibly more before he told her all of his heart (vs 17).

She was convinced that he told her the truth, and went to work cutting his hair and shaving him.

Delilah is a type of the people of Israel, Judah, and the church.

The church? Yes, I will get into that later.

In Ezekiel 16, there is a narrative of God telling about how he found Israel, and how he compares Israel to a woman whom God intended for himself.

I can’t get into the entire scene, you should read it. If you have never read it before, brace yourself, God is very descriptive, and does not hold back.

The basic sense is that God found Israel (her) in death like an infant cast away for death.

He washed her, cleaned her up, brought her up, and she became a beautiful woman.

He gave her gifts, and beautiful dresses, jewelry, and a crown.

She began to see her beauty, and started to have confidence in herself.

She begins to get acquainted with lovers as she goes into a life of harlotry (for the lack of a better word [like there could be a better word]).

The rest is more harlotry, and loose living to the degree that God is fed up with it, and with her.

He speaks of judgment to come until she realizes that he will recover her, but after all is said and done she will be submissive and not be able to say a word.

The book of Hosea also deals with the love of God for Israel who he compares to a harlot, but this one is a love story.

Where the church is concerned, it comes from the perspective of being led away from within.

2 Timothy 3:6-7
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Go back and read from verse 1.

What you see isn’t the people of the world, it’s in the church.

Paul tells us that “this sort” find women who are more than willing to give away their love (can we call it love?).

My impression is that these are ministers of the Word of God.

2 Peter 2:17
These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

Peter calls them out as well.

He calls them wells without water.

This is significant, because Jesus told us that the water he would give, would be a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14).

These ministers have somehow moved away from the life of the Word, to a life in the world, being worldly minded and set on fire of the gates of hell.

But you should read this chapter also.

The people of Judah, in the time before the exile, were pushed further back into idolatry by their own priests and prophets (2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 2).

But, they were not the first, there were others (1 Samuel 2:22).

My purpose here is not to denigrate the church, but rather to restore her to the place where she will love and honor Christ as she should.

About Eve:

Eve’s sin was not so heinous as Ezekiel 16, it was as simple as disobedience.

Coupled with that disobedience there was a vein of envy, maybe even defiance.

Could it be that God lied to her? 

Man (Adam and Eve) had no reason to distrust God. He gave them everything they needed to live the life that God gave them. 

Since then, man has had much reason to distrust each other, and I think we will even have our doubts about God.

But his word tells us in Hebrew 10:6-8, that men don’t trust each other until they swear an oath.

Therefore, God was willing to compound his promise with a promise, even setting his word above his very name (Psalm 138:2).

Back to Eve…

Should she really have entertained the Serpent who said..?

“…Ye shall not surely die…”
Genesis 3:4

On the surface, it’s a no-brainer. Who is really going to have a conversation with a snake?

But in reality, the sins we commit come from the entertainment of the idea or thought, like there is a snake talking to you.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Oh!!!

It would take so long to express Ephesians 6:10-18 where we find the “Whole Armor of God”.

If I were to take the time, I could easily make this post twice as long, if not more.

Perhaps I’ll find a time to do so.

But, did anyone ever tell you that you do not have to give in to sin.

1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God provides a way even in the temptation. Temptation is a trial, a test. You can pass a test, you can pass this test.

Know that God goes through it with you.

He’s there even when I sin? Yes, does that give you strength? Would you do it if your father was with you?

Or would you rather have some privacy so you can fall in all by yourself?

Paul also talks about revenge.

No, it’s not the dish best served cold, that’s ice cream; Moose Tracks, Cookies and Cream 🙂

The revenge of disobedience is obedience, simple huh?

Well, I guess I’ll close for now 

Please stay tuned in, to the Holy Spirit, not me.

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Nehemiah

Road to Emmaus:
Nehemiah

Nehemiah 4:6
So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

This post would be a continuation of Road to Emmaus: Genesis, my previous post.

I couldn’t take the time to speak of the great effect that Nehemiah had on the people of Jerusalem.

There is still so much to tell.

If you don’t know the book of Nehemiah, I would like to give you some insight into the book, and the man (at least my perspective).

Chapter 1 tells us that he was in Persia (formerly Babylon).

The people of Judah had been taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar a generation before Nehemiah.

A few of the contemporary books which speak of their time in Babylon/Persia are the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Ezra and Esther (one of my favorites).

Both Nehemiah, and Esther speak of the time when the exile was over, and the people of Judah had already returned to Jerusalem.

It was the decree of Cyrus…

“…Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem…”
Ezra 1:3-4

So, not all of Judah went back to Jerusalem, Persia was now their home.

***
Side note: from this land came the wise men which came to Jesus when he was a child.
***

The book of Ezra is the exodus from Persia, under king Cyrus which was before Artaxerxes who is the king in the book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah mentions the queen in chapter 2:6, which I believe is Esther, but I won’t go into that at this time.

Nehemiah had been the cup bearer of Artaxerxes (2:1), his was a prominent position in the royal court.

In my last post I wrote…

“…My thought is that he may have been too young to go in the first exodus, or was old enough but preferred his life here in Persia.

Like most Christians, we find it easier to send money and our blessings to the missionaries, while we’re here in our comfort. Not that Nehemiah was that way …”

In any case, Nehemiah was motivated to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.

I caught hold of the impression of Nehemiah being a type of the Holy Spirit, I guess you’ll just have to go back and read how I see this.

This series that I call “Road to Emmaus” has to do with scriptures that point to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

As I was ending my last post, I also caught hold of who Jesus is in the position of Jerusalem.

I just could not go any deeper without making it so much longer, but here goes…

***

“…So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work…”

There are likely great observations to look into here, I think the church today can take a cue from this one.

No judgment, but there is a lack of any real movement in the church when it comes to full ministry. We are content for the work to be handled by those in leadership positions, while those in leadership positions are trying to motivate us.

Is anyone really trying to build the “wall”?

Jesus has been raised to life, but are we trying to raise Jesus to life in our own world and influence?

Romans 6:3-4
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Baptized into Christ.

When Cyrus sent the people back to Jerusalem the primary purpose was to build the temple of God (Ezra 1:2).

After the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon, the city laid waste and was untouched for all of that time.

Now in the time of Nehemiah, the people in Jerusalem have rebuilt the Temple, but the city walls, and its gate are still destroyed. 

No one gave any thought to repairing the wall.

Those who initially returned to Jerusalem are a type of the church which now we see in Romans 6:3-6 are those baptized into his death.

I don’t know what the people were thinking. 

Might we normally come into this kind of destruction with the intent to rebuild? Not Judah, not the walls; the Temple, yes, but the city wall, no.

This is another prospect of Nehemiah being a type of the Holy Spirit who not only is intent on the rebuilding of the city walls, but also in the motivation he brings to the people.

“…that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life…”

The wall wasn’t built in a day, it took 52 days.

“…for the people had a mind to work…”

This is a remarkable thing, construction of the wall requires tools, materials, manpower, and time.

You would have to read it to see how involved these people were once they were committed to the work.

Each person took ownership of their part of the wall.

To compound the situation, they had enemies who wanted to stop the work by any means possible.

Nehemiah set up a perimeter so the workers could work in safety, some even worked with a tool in one hand, and a weapon in the other. They were committed to the work.

The wall was raised up, and the people were raised up as well.

Paul tells us…

“…even so we also should walk in newness of life…”

The people of Jerusalem had come to a change of heart, yet not all.

There were some who were like the loan companies, which had titles over them and leans on their property, and even their children. 

Before the rise of Jerusalem, they were lords over their own people with a vice.

Nehemiah straightened that out, those same loan lords committed to releasing the debts and liens, and allowed the people their freedoms.

There were also spies among them, which were found out and removed.

There was the situation that some of the men had foreign wives, and they had children with them. 

Those men put away their foreign wives and their children (Nehemiah 10:28-30).

Which might be considered harsh even for the Old Testament.

In God’s law there was that which God did not want interracial marriages.

Not that God is against interracial marriages, but the specialty of the ancient world was the influence of strange gods and idols (Exodus 34:16).

Today this would translate into believers not marrying unbelievers…

“…Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?..”
1 Corinthians 6:14

Again, it may look harsh, but God wants to stabilize the believer in their walk with Christ. A union with an unbeliever could derail that walk.

As for marriages that are already made unequally, God’s Word tells us…

“…But to the rest speak I (Paul), not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?..”
1 Corinthians 7:12-16

Also, The priesthood was restored because the priests were not at work as they should have been.

The people recovered all things assigned in the law of Moses, they kept feasts, and they committed to serve the Lord.

They had a revival of sorts.

At some point, Nehemiah had returned to Babylon/Persia, and when he requested leave again from Persia, he returned to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 13:6).

He was not happy.

The priesthood had gone back to work in their fields again, because the people did not keep up their commitment to bring their tithes, offerings, and first fruits, which they committed to do.

There was even an enemy of Jerusalem living in the Temple with the approval of the priest.

This is a slap in the face again, probably worse than idols and idolatry in the Temple of 2 Chronicles 36.

Nehemiah kicked him out along with all of his stuff, then he had the Temple scrubbed down to be cleaned.

Nehemiah set it straight again.

I had suggested that Nehemiah is a type of the Holy Spirit.

Like the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2 of whom it is said…

“…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters…”

Nehemiah said…

“…Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned…”
Nehemiah 2:15

When you read the book of Nehemiah, please consider that the work he did throughout; both urging the people to build the wall, and to set everything in order is typical of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:5
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Throughout Romans 8, the consistent theme is being in the Spirit; the freedom that comes from being released from death by the law; and knowledge of relationship to God, regardless of circumstances.

Paul tells us…

“…they that are after the Spirit (do mind) the things of the Spirit…”

“…have their minds set…on the things of the Spirit…”

Paul tells us…

“…If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth…”
Colossians 3:1-2

Having a mind set on the things of God is a mindset in pursuit of spiritual things. Heaven is our destination, but in the here and now being led by the Holy Spirit gives us perspective of the things where our affections should be placed.

Scripture is only the beginning, it is our schoolmaster, educating us for more than only knowledge, but to know the building of the Kingdom.

There are several facets to the Kingdom, and we are many being led specifically.

As the people in Jerusalem took ownership of their part of the wall, consider that there were specific purposes in each area.

Today, our Jerusalem wall may take on several ministries of the church. Where do you serve?

Romans 8:13-14
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

“…if ye live after the flesh…”

“…There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…”
Romans 8:1

Condemnation is a word that expresses damnation; hellfire, God’s judgement, and the fear of death 

This no longer applies to the believer who has put his trust in Jesus.

Does this mean that you will never sin again? No, it does not.

Those who know, know. Those who don’t, can not know.

Paul does give us the perspective of knowing the difference…

“…But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness…”
Romans 8:9-10

If the Spirit of God dwells in you, you will know it. 

Have you surrendered your life to Christ? Yes? Then you qualify.

He brings conviction. He doesn’t leave you to despair, but he’s continually leading you to life, to good choices, living in you like an alarm to resist temptation.

The experienced believer like myself can follow him through scripture, but that’s my lifetime.

The young believer is still building his experience in the Spirit. 

I’d say that if one does not have any conviction, he’s in trouble, and he’s not worried about it.

Your concern with God’s judgement is evidence that he is working in you.

***


Would you like to be in Christ?

Ask him to come into your life, ask the Holy Spirit to come live in your heart.

There is a prayer, but it only takes for you to believe and to speak it.

Romans 10:9-10
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

If you have not, would you ask him today?

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Genesis

Road to Emmaus:
Genesis

Genesis 1:2
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Some years ago, I preached a series that I called “Three Days”

Based on when Jesus said…

“…For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth…”
Matthew 12:40

In that series, there were 5 parts:

Vs 1 – the birth of Jesus as man and God

Vs 2 – the crucifixion

Vs 3-5 – the first day of his death, light to the captives

Vs 6-8 – the second day, separation of sky and sea, the difference between believers and unbelievers.

Vs 9-10 – the third day, calling forth dry land, the resurrection.

I would like to try to summarize that series in this one post, but it wouldn’t be as full and rich as I believe it could be.

I can only take one of those thoughts to expound on as full and rich as it could be for more than a highlight.

In my continuing series of the Road to Emmaus, this is another view that speaks of the crucifixion of Jesus.

And speaking of the crucifixion, this verse in Genesis speaks of more than the condition of the earth at the time of God’s re-creation.

To begin with, as applied to Christ…

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

So as not to take much time to describe what I see here, please read the attached post which I wrote at Christmas time.

It was part of a three part series which highlighted the appearance of Christ, and his purpose.

I will say that Genesis 1:1 is the beginning of the earth, yes, but also the appearance of Christ on the earth, God as a man.

Genesis 1 is catchy in the sense that it’s a telling of what God did before there was anyone there to see it.

This is why it is both faith, and revelation. 

We take history at face value although we were not there to see it. So, why is the bible excluded?

We believe that Moses wrote the book of Genesis. It was a dictation from God to Moses.

It is also reasonable that it was a telling handed down from generation to generation, with the intent of keeping history.

I believe the former, that God told Moses what he did.

Scripture is more than telling, it’s precise.

Many times I get caught up in a single word, and it grips me to the point of digging it out to get its point.

The sequences of Genesis 1 are stretched out so as not to dismiss as only a telling, but as prophecy as well.

I say this because, why take 6 days to create heaven and the earth, and to take his rest on the 7th day? Does God get tired?

Not questioning, but for reference, God could have created all things with a wave of his hand, but he is meticulous to the degree that everything he does is done to prophesy.

Also, most parents like to show pictures of their children, and brag about their accomplishments.

God is the original. He’s been talking about Jesus since the beginning, wanting to show us pictures of Christ in ways that only he can.

“…And the earth was without form…”

Evolutionists would tell us that this is a period beginning some 16 billion years ago, I’m not here to refute that, it’s not a concern for me.

That said, I do believe that there is a dateless past. There may certainly have been some human type species in that course of time. Again, I’m not here to refute that.

What I preach is from the depths of my spirit, I pray that the Spirit of God speaks to those who will read what I write.

Also, I like the idea of dinosaurs, creatures of the ancient past, of which skeletons we have proof of.

What was that world like, archeologists, and paleontologists would surely give us their best theories.

I believe that there must surely have been a prehistoric period before Genesis 1:2.

But in verse 2, the earth was without form.

What exactly does that mean?

H8414
Without Form
Hebrew: TO’HOO
Strong’s Concordance
“…to’-hoo; from an unused root meaning to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; figuratively, a worthless thing; adverbially, in vain:—confusion, empty place, without form, nothing, (thing of) nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness…”

Surely we can see what “without form” means, without going to the Hebrew word, right?

I don’t think it’s that simple, we could miss something valuable.

To lie waste(d)…

A desolation (surface)…

Desert, a worthless thing…

To name a few.

What caused it?

Science tells us of an ice age, I don’t think it’s that far off.

This word expresses more than “without form”, but even a waste, or something wasted, in this case the earth. It’s desolation.

Nehemiah 1:3
And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Nehemiah was a servant in the royal court of Artaxerxes in Persia. He was the cupbearer (remember that).

He was from the remnant of Jews that stayed behind when Cyrus the former King released those who wanted to go back to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

Some time had passed since then, yet Nehemiah remained in Persia.

Nehemiah received visitors from Jerusalem. Naturally, Nehemiah wanted some news of how the Jews were doing.

Surely the city is either rebuilt, or undergoing the rebuild. 

What Nehemiah heard was harder than a heartbreak, he was devastated.

My thought is that he may have been too young to go in the first exodus, or was old enough but preferred his life here in Persia.

Like most Christians, we find it easier to send money and our blessings to the missionaries, while we’re here in our comfort. Not that Nehemiah was that way 

When you read Nehemiah 1:3, you may glaze over and move on past, that’s because you’re not invested in the news of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah was invested, if not money or family, the very news of Jerusalem’s condition hits home to him.

It was when Babylon came for the third time into Judah that they burned down the Temple, and they laid waste to Jerusalem.

The wall was broken down and the gate was burned down, to say that Jerusalem was conquered, and destroyed, but more than destroyed, it was laid open.

It was called a reproach.

H2781
Reproach
Hebrew word: KHER-PAW
Strong’s Concordance  
“…kher-paw’; from H2778; contumely, disgrace, the pudenda:—rebuke, reproach(-fully), shame…”

I won’t describe some of these words, frankly it’s disturbing to write. Google these for yourself.

This word basically describes a rape of sorts.

How long have the people been back in Jerusalem? The Temple was the first priority, but no one gave any thought to the security of the city, the walls, and the gate. It was still in disarray.

“…and void…”

H922
Void
Hebrew word: BO’HOO
Strong’s Concordance 
“…bo’-hoo; from an unused root (meaning to be empty); a vacuity, i.e. (superficially) an undistinguishable ruin:—emptiness, void…”

An undistinguishable ruin.

Isaiah 52:14
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men…

At thee” refers to Israel.

The prophecy in Isaiah 52 points to their future when they will be scattered and taken from their homeland.

The first time was when the Northern kingdom was taken by Assyria, and then after some 150 years or so, the Southern Kingdom was taken to Babylon.

Then further into their future they will be scattered throughout the world, as they are today.

After the exile of Judah, they were able to return 70 years later. I’m not sure when Israel was able to return, but they did begin again.

At about a.d. 70 was when the Jews rebelled against Rome, from around that time they were scattered throughout the world.

We’ve seen some of their trials in history, the most notable was during WWII, when Hitler, and Germany sought to eliminate them from their part of the world. We know it as the Holocaust.

Then in 1948, seemingly instantly, they were recovered and recognized as a nation, once again in their homeland.

I wasn’t there, but surely the world was stunned to see this happen.

Israel, as a nation, was gone for almost 1900 years, yet God has raised them up again.

Isaiah is prophesying to Israel in his time, and to Israel in the future about the servant of God who will go through an “indistinguishable ruin” as theirs was.

“…his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men…”

Let’s take a look at this in a different version.

“…his appearance was so disfigured that he did not look like a man, and his form did not resemble a human being…”
CSB

Consider these words.

Remember those movies of Jesus and his crucifixion, none of those movies ever portray Jesus in the perspective of Isaiah 52:14.

Can you put this kind of horror into a movie?

Maybe not so much in the past, but the sense of movies today show very little restraint to the kind of shock value than can be portrayed.

Could you make a movie about the gospel and be rated “R”?

Mel Gibson made “The Passion of the Christ”, but it was primarily about the crucifixion, with glimpses of the gospel message.

I feel it was focused on the extreme brutality of the torture and crucifixion, yet still does not measure up to Isaiah 52:14. But it’s the closest I have seen by far.

Would I want to see a movie where Jesus was so badly disfigured that it would numb my senses? No! I wouldn’t.

For me, the knowledge of the Holy Spirit is more than enough for me, besides, scripture gives us ample knowledge of it.

This reminds me of when Abraham was speaking to the rich man…

“…Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead…”
Luke 16:29-31 (highlighted words of Christ)

I can’t really go into this scene, but for the reference and the context, the rich man wanted Lazarus to go back to speak to his brothers, but Abraham said…

“…If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead…”

Does it really take an eyewitness to make someone believe? Not really.

It takes the Holy Spirit who brings the Word of God to life in us (John 6:44; 16:13-14).

Jesus’ torture and crucifixion left him unrecognizable. If you had not been there you might not have known that it was Jesus, or even that it was a man.

The depth of cruelty of man’s heart was evident that day. These were soldiers trained to kill, trained to crucify, to torture, to inflict death within inches of life.

Jesus was captured the night before, it stands to reason that his torture began that night. Throughout the next day he would be turned over to the Roman council for questioning, beating, and for crucifixion.

Mark 15:25-37 tells us that they crucified Jesus at 9:00 in the morning, and that he gave up the ghost at 3:00 in the afternoon. For six hours on the cross Jesus endured the horrible experience of being nailed in each hand (wrist), and feet. 

Without breaking bones, Jesus was nailed to the cross (Psalm 34:20; John 19:36).

The horrifying experience has passed.

“…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters…”

I know, I passed by…

“…and darkness was upon the face of the deep…”

I would like to expound on that, but the long and the short of it refers to the weight of sin. I don’t want to dismiss this part, but I have to move on from here.

Nehemiah 2:12
And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.

I asked you to remember that Nehemiah was the cupbearer of the king. He is in my estimation a type of the Holy Spirit.

He does at the ruins of Jerusalem what the Holy Spirit did in Genesis 1:2.

From verse 12 through 18, we see that Nehemiah and a few select others went out to inspect the city walls.

As I see Nehemiah as a type of the Holy Spirit, perhaps these few men are also types of the Father, and the Word (just a thought).

Nehemiah is specific about the portions of the walls calling them by their names, which all have specific meanings, also which I cannot take the time to expound upon.

But look at this…

“…So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days…”
vs 11

I don’t think I have ever paid attention to this verse, can I tell you my joy at seeing this as a confirmation to my discovery of the “Three Days” study?!!

If you have been following these posts, you have my basic construct of that series. Nehemiah’s experience is also a portion of that discovery.

“…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters…”

H7363
Moved
Hebrew word: RAW-KHAF’
Strong’s Concordance 
“…raw-khaf’; a primitive root; to brood; by implication, to be relaxed:—flutter, move, shake…”

Moved” seems pretty straightforward, but as I said, we might miss something.

Jesus said in…

John 3:8
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

If we’re talking about wind, we know that the wind can be gentle, or it can be rough.

But, we’re talking about the Holy Spirit, he is meticulous. He is going over the ruin to the degree of recovering the damage.

Nehemiah was moving over the destruction, he wanted to see the extent of the damage.

He had a purpose, and the intention of repair.

Remember that he was devastated over the knowledge that Jerusalem was indefensible.

Today, we only have walls or fences around our individual homes, not cities, not in America.

But in those times, the wall was the primary defense. It allowed for time to gather the forces, and to get the weak to shelter.

Without a wall, everyone was exposed, no one was safe. It was crucial.

I had said…

“The horrifying experience has passed”

The destruction was past, the rebuilding is at hand.

As Jesus is buried in the tomb, the next three days are highlighted in Genesis 1:3-8.

Each of those days represent what God is producing in the church, and in each believer.

Maybe at some time I will go deeper into what I have seen. But the third day has come.

Genesis 1:9-10
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

I had said…

“Science tells us of an ice age, I don’t think it’s that far off”

What I think is that the darkness of the earth, and the absence of the sun suggests to me that the earth was frozen.

(***Before you find a reason to get scientific on me, I just need to show this to you…

In Genesis 1:14-19, God gives us the stars, the sun and moon. This was the fourth day.

The prospect that Genesis says that there was no sun or moon or stars might be a deal breaker for you.

I don’t have all of the answers, maybe the earth really is only 6000+ years old, maybe it’s millions, and billions of years.

Maybe God turned off the sun, maybe the earth was covered in layers of cosmic dust, maybe it’s true that an asteroid struck the earth 60 million years ago and shot up so much dust into the atmosphere and covered the earth for a time.

I don’t really know.

I’m just an observer. ***)

This verse (9) says…

“…Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear…”

The land was under water.

The extent of the burial is not only a presence in the tomb, as much as being inundated in death.

Micah 7:19
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Micah tells us that God will subdue our iniquities, and they will be cast into the depths of the sea.

In my post “Moses’s Serpent Rod”, I have suggest that sin needed to be contained

My own quote…

“(****Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

“…But sin, that it might appear sin…”

It’s not like water can take a beating, but a whale can.

Water can drown a man, like sin does even without having an actual form.

If we were to take water and freeze it, now it has a form, now you can take it and shatter it. I like the whale better.

If sin is like fluid, it is not something to hold in your hand but does get your hand wet.

What God was needing to do was to bottle it to contain it.

Jesus became that vessel.

“…he hath made him to be sin for us…”

What better way to contain it than to trap it in the same vessel that contains it. ***)”

Micah says ..

“…and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea…”

It might look like God took the sacrifice of Christ, as he “was made sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and cast him into the depths of the sea.

I’m trying not to go backwards here, but it is just very rich.

If death is the sea, then Jesus has been baptized into death. Now it’s time for him to rise above death, and let death be gathered into one place.

I have so much more to say, but I will close with these verses.

Romans 6:4
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

It’s widely agreed that Jesus was buried, only the dead are buried.

So much information, but I will keep my thoughts.

Hebrews 2:15-15
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The power of death has been captured, and its keeper destroyed.

Jesus leaves us with no more fear of death, and those who believe will patiently await it.

Because the combination of being buried with him, to rise again to life is sealed in the fact that he has conquered death.

1 Corinthians 15:55
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Hallelujah!!!

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Jonah and Jesus

Road to Emmaus:
Jonah and Jesus

Jonah 1:12
And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

I have a personal study that I did some years ago, which was a part of a series that I preached called “Three Days”

The opening passage dealt with this scripture…

“…For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth…”
Matthew 12:40

Jesus gave the Pharisees this sign to look for, but I don’t think that they even remembered that Jesus said this, even though they remembered that he said he would rise again (Matthew 27:63-64).

In one of my previous posts in this current series I almost pursued this direction when I saw the comparison that God made of Pharaoh like a whale in the ocean.

You can read this link:

Maybe you know about Jonah.

God sent Jonah to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, Assyria.

Jonah did not want to go, and went the other way.

He was a reluctant preacher, he was not looking for the job. We don’t know very much about Jonah, we see that his father was named, but not really anything else.

2 Kings 14:25 names him as a prophet, the son of Amittai, as well as Jonah 1:1.

Sometimes the story of Jonah may sound like a fable, so it’s good to see his references as a real man, besides, the Word of God is truth.

We find that Jonah decided to run from God’s calling. Of all places to run from the Lord to, he chose a ship to get onto.

At some point the ship was in a precarious position when the sea rose up in a storm. The ship was tossed back and forth, side to side, and may even have felt to be overflowed with the sea.

The men of the ship worked hard to try to settle the ship for their lives, but it was near pointless.

If you can see it, Jonah was asleep in the bottom of the ship. Who could sleep in the middle of a storm like that? Jonah could.

They woke him up, rude!

They told him to cry out to his God, perhaps he would spare them.

They even cast lots, it’s like drawing straws to see who’s fault this storm was, and they found that Jonah was to blame.

The long and the short of it was that Jonah told them to cast him out into the sea and the sea would calm down.

They did not want to do that, those were good hearted men, they attempted to save his life even knowing he was the problem.

Jonah convinced them to cast him into the sea, and the storm stopped its raging.

If that wasn’t enough, Jonah was swallowed up by a whale. The book of Jonah said that God prepared a great fish, but in Matthew 12:40, Jesus said it was a whale.

Let’s not squabble about it.

So, you know the story, Jonah was in the belly of the whale/fish 3 days and nights.

As I said, in my study of the “Three Days”, I used the scripture where Jesus talks about himself and Jonah.

Matthew 12:40
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This is the only mention of Jonah in the New Testament, at least that I can see.

That is to say, that Jesus didn’t tell us what he thought of Jonah, nor did he go into depth, not in written scripture, about the life of Jonah.

We have only the book of Jonah and his account of his experience.

As I was reading over some of the of the scripture references, I saw how Jesus would be turned over to the elders, chief priests, and scribes, to be killed.

Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 27:40, 63-64; and John 2:19, are a few of the scriptures that speak of Jesus prophecy of his death and resurrection in the space of three days.

In my reading of these scriptures, I saw a visual of the the way that Jesus and Jonah parallel.

I see a struggle of sorts. Jonah’s experience was one where he knew he was the problem, and the solution was that he be cast overboard for the sake of those men.

I also see that the elders, chief priests, and scribes we’re also in a struggle, not in land or sea, but in their own tempest were anxious to destroy Jesus, not really knowing who he is.

The men on the boat with Jonah did agree reluctantly, but the elders, chief priests and scribes were locked into a violent path determined to get rid of Jesus.

What isn’t seen in the crucifixion, which is played out with Jonah, is the tempest of sin, and the wrath of God that is churning and rolling, and roiling like the waves of the sea.

Only Jonah would continue to experience the impact of the violence of the sea, like Jesus who would become the point of contact between sin and the wrath of God.

Jonah submitted to those men without a struggle just as Jesus did as a lamb without retreat.

Jonah was cast into the sea, and the sea was settled, just as Jesus was crucified, and became the sacrifice, and God’s wrath was settled.

The tempest of the sea became a calm stable sea just as God was pleased with Christ, the judgement was done.

But let’s take a look at what was happening to Christ internally by looking at Jonah’s experience.

Jonah 2:3-5
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

Remember, Jonah is a reluctant preacher who has run from the call of God, not like Jesus who came willingly to give us a way back to God.

It’s not like Jonah fits the pattern of Christ, as much as the events of Jonah mirror Christ’s ordeal.

Jonah was probably not opposed to preaching, as much as he was opposed to the people of Nineveh.

I wouldn’t normally deviate away from my direction, but to give you a sense of Jonah’s opposition to Nineveh, Jonah had a hate for them.

Nineveh was the capitol of Assyria, whom had come to Israel to conquer them, but it wasn’t only a conquest, it was a brutality and insatiable blood thirst.

To Jonah, they had no reason to gain God’s favor. It would be some kind of betrayal, in Jonah’s heart, to bring them a message of repentance.

He wasn’t in a malleable form for the gospel to have any effect. His was spite and disgust toward them.

So, God took steps to get him in a place where he could be malleable, as well as preparing a “great fish” (whale) to get Jonah to Nineveh.

After he was tossed into the tempestuous sea, he was swallowed by this whale.

We don’t know if it was instant, but I think the whale came after Jonah had drowned.

I’ll give you my reason in a bit, but think of Christ on the cross, he was alive through the torture, he was crucified, and nailed to the cross, alive.

Jonah said…

“…For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me…”

I’m not a swimmer by any means.

Once, my wife and I went to a beach to take in the sight of it. I got to walk in the water at ankle depth. She wouldn’t let me go any deeper, so I don’t know what it would be like to drown.

Jonah described what it might be like to be tossed into a raging sea.

I imagine what it would be like to be tossed into the deep end of the pool; arms and legs flailing, panic, disorientation, not knowing up from down, not being able to take a breath for fear of taking in water, losing hope, sinking into despair, sinking ever deeper, darker and darker.

This is my idea of drowning.

Consider that even on the cross, Jesus didn’t exactly feel that way, not from the torture and crucifixion, but the weight of sin, and the wrath of God like an ocean without relief. This is my thought.

Jonah also said…

“…the weeds were wrapped about my head…”

Weeds = crown of thorns

Mark 15:17
And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head

Attention to detail in the wording is one of the ways that I see the connections that the Spirit of God makes for me.

Matthew 27:29 says that they put the crown of thorns “upon his head”, and John 19:2, says “on his head”, while Mark 15:17 tells us “about his head”; all KJV and in English.

G4060
About
Greek word: PER-EE-TITH’-AY-ME
Strong’s Concordance
“…peritíthēmi, per-ee-tith’-ay-mee; from G4012 and G5087; to place around; by implication, to present:—bestow upon, hedge round about, put about (on, upon), set about…”

The crown of thorns was put about his head.

This is just me but, hear me out.

I was not there to say this is what did happen, but what if what they actually did was to wrap the crown of thorns around his head to further torture him.

When Jonah was in the sea, he said…

“…the weeds were wrapped about my head…”

There was no one there to physically wrap the weeds around his head, but as if the weeds were loose and began to tangle him in as he struggled; maybe.

It’s always been my thought that those soldiers hand made a crown of thorns and then placed it on his head, and may very well be what happened, but perhaps they took the thorned stems from the weeds and formed the crown of thorns around his head, digging in further with excruciating searing pain.

Why should those soldiers be gentle or use finesse? They were there to kill him and to inflict the most pain as possible within inches of his death.

I suggested that the whale may not have swallowed Jonah right away.

My thought about this is of being swallowed by the whale was being closed into death; a burial of sorts.

Jesus said…

“…For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth…”

The first day wasn’t the crucifixion it was the burial (after the crucifixion).

Genesis 1:5
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

I’m using this verse to simulate what the first day looked like.

If you read Genesis 1, you will find that the dry land did not appear until the third day.

Genesis 1:3-5 are the very first events after the fact that…

“…the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep…”

I would like to get in deeper here, but I call forth Genesis 1:5 to say…

“…And the evening and the morning were the first day…”

Many people know this, but in the process of God’s will, the evening is the beginning of the day.

If you consider it, our day begins at 12am, which is midnight. But for Israel, their day begins at dusk, very likely about 6pm.

Why does this matter?

Jesus didn’t die until around 3:00 (aka the ninth hour – Matthew 27:45-50).

For that information, Google: “Roman hours of the day”

When you read Matthew 27:45-50, you will see that there was a darkness on the earth for three hours, I only say this to say that after 3:00, they had light until dusk.

By dusk, Jesus must be buried.

If it had been any other day they might have worked into the evening until the next morning, but that dusk was the beginning of sabbath, no one was allowed to go past the hour.

That night, Jesus began the three nights and three days in the heart of the earth.

Can you see a likely illustration that the mouth of the tomb might have been the mouth of the whale?

The stone upon the entrance was the closing of that mouth.

Jonah 2:6
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

Wait, what?

Bottoms of the mountains? Wasn’t he in the depths of the sea?

“…the earth with her bars was about me for ever..”

Have you ever seen this?!!

The earth is one thing, but the bars?

I get the impression of prison.

What did Jesus say about the church?

“…And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…”
Matthew 16:18

“The gates of hell”?

Did Jonah see hell?

What about “for ever”?

Could Jonah have felt more than despair, but abandonment, the weight of darkness, perhaps the eternity of death?

Jesus did say…

“…in the heart of the earth…”

Ephesians 4:9
Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

Paul gives us this insight of Jesus having descended, or gone down to the lower parts of the earth.

He tells us that he led captivity captive.

I don’t want to get any more distracted than to say, that when Genesis 1:3 says…

“…And God said, Let there be light: and there was light…”

God was telling the light to shine in the darkness, but God is the first Prophet, he speaks in the Spirit before he speaks in the natural, but God being God can speak in both voices at once.

Those prisoners in the lower parts were given light, not a literal light, but the light of Christ.

Not all of hell, but that place known where Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22-26).

It would be hopeful to say that God released everyone from hell, but that cannot ever be, not until the final judgement when their eternal destination will be the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15).

But that’s not what I was talking about.

There was a place called paradise. It was intended for the ancient righteous to be held until the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ.

They were not worthy of eternal damnation, but the stain of sin on them was still seen by God and righteousness. The price for sin would not permit them into heaven, not yet.

These were the captive who made it in with Christ after the third day.

Jonah did rise again.

Jonah 2:10
And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

That doesn’t sound appealing, after all, he was in the belly of the whale for three days.

The natural mind might consider how Jonah may have decomposed in the whale’s juices, but isn’t God Almighty?

Jesus went into the tomb completely unrecognizable (Isaiah 52:14).

He came out with only a few scars, and that is intentional.

It is reasonable that Jonah came out whole, with no trace of death or it’s stench.

I could go on…

Suffice it to say, that Jonah’s experience portrays somewhat of a vivid description of the things Jesus may have experience as a result of the sin that he answered for.

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: Defiled Temple II

Road to Emmaus
Defiled Temple II

1 Kings 2:28
Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

After the death of king David, his son Solomon was king.

David did get to see with his own eyes that Solomon would sit on the throne before his death (1 Kings 1:46-48).

In chapter 2, before David passed away, he told Solomon about the grief he had with Joab.

Joab had been David’s general, and leader of the armies.

But Joab had murdered two men in war fashion during peace time.

Joab had personal reasons for why he did this, but not for this post.

At any rate, David was displeased with Joab, because of Joab’s doings, it brought grief to David’s kingdom.

David told Solomon…

“…but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood…”

Don’t let him die of old age, kill him with violence.

Joab realized his days were numbered, he thought he could go to the Tabernacle for sanctuary, and he caught onto the horns of the altar.

In my post: Propitiation: The Atonement, I wrote of the altar, and how it represents Christ.

God had told Moses that only the priesthood should have any access to the Tabernacle as well as any of the parts of the Tabernacle service (Numbers 1:50-53).

Joab was a stranger in respect that he was not a Levite, and that he had no business being there, much less touching anything of the Tabernacle.

Joab was condemned twice.

1 Kings 2:31
And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.

Joab was put to death even there by the Tabernacle.

Remember that the altar was on the outside of the Tabernacle but inside the courtyard.

It was still off limits to non-Levites.

But I think it serves to show that the unbeliever is welcome to approach the Lord, so long as he does not come to take advantage.

The court yard is almost neutral ground, but the altar cannot be touched by anyone other than the priesthood.

Hebrews 10:29
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

The books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers give us a sense of the gravity that should be taken approaching the Holy things of God, the church is no less.

Doing despite unto the Spirit of grace is irreversible. There is no forgiveness to offend the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29; Luke 12:10).

The ability to turn away from God, especially after your personal knowledge that the Holy Spirit has brought you in is full consent that you understand how it is equal to losing your salvation.

You don’t lose our salvation just because you fall back into the world, that’s why we encourage rededication.

Losing your salvation is the full knowledge that you are walking away, and no longer want anything to do with God or the Holy Spirit.

It’s equal to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which offers no more forgiveness. That’s why he says that there remains no more sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:26-27).

If you think that you have reached that point, but you still desire to know God, there is still opportunity for you.

Because only the Holy Spirit can convict you, without his conviction you won’t care.

What Joab did was in the original Tabernacle.

Do not learn his way, keep his new Tabernacle clean which is you

1 Corinthians 6:15-16
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

1 Corinthians 3:16:17
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

In the sense of the order it was written, chapter 3 should come first.

I would like to present first that in chapter 6, Paul was upset with the church because of their legal dealings with the world instead of keeping the matter in house.

Could they not present their matters before the church instead of the world? Paul’s concern for that was that this was a way for the world to influence the church. We can’t have that.

So he compared it to joining the body of Christ with a harlot.

It’s not in the literal sense, but in the sense that the church is the bride of Christ. Christ has only one love, and the world has no part of that, not in the sense that they come in to defile the bride of Christ.

In the interest of clarification, the world comes to Jesus through salvation, not to manipulate, but in conversation, in believing.

Paul then refers to the body of Christ as the Temple of God, by saying that you are joined to the body of Christ, and that your body is the Temple of God.

In chapter 3, Paul is speaking about how you build your Temple. He tells us that every man’s work will be tried by fire.

Among Paul’s several concerns was the division of the believers. Some were claiming to be of Paul, some of Apollos, some of Cephas (Peter), and some of Christ.

This was a serious matter, one that snowballed into what the church is today.

Paul made reference to the way that every man is to build his Temple, and to understand that it would be tried.

Consider also that Paul tells us not to build like we know what we’re doing.

He said let the wise become a fool so he can become wise.

I believe that the idea here is that we generally think that we know what’s good. Building up the Temple of God is not like decorating your home, but rather by God’s direction. Anything else, or more could detract from God’s purpose.

1 Corinthians 3:10
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

Can anyone disagree with Paul, that he is a wise masterbuilder?

With his inclusion of the Word of God of the letters that he wrote, God has surely credited him with that kind of title.

Paul wasn’t bragging about this, he was only stating that he had only followed the plans of the Holy Spirit.

But has claimed no more than laying only the foundation of the temple. The wise masterbuilder has dug deep to give you an immovable foundation.

Understand that Paul cannot build your temple, that’s on you. He only has laid out the gospel, he has explained it, he has written it down for you to come back to it again and again throughout the rest of your life.

The same things he has used to lay out a foundation for you, are the same things you need to use to build your temple.

Matthew 7:24-27
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Jesus gave us a perspective of two builders who build their houses.

They are called the “wise man”, and the “foolish man”.

The idea is that Jesus applies the wisdom of his word to be the foundation.

The fact that both the wise and foolish are building is represented by the way we live our lives.

Jesus expressed that trial will come, stress is inevitable in every life, how do you hold up, how do you hold together?

Jesus said of each…

“…And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house…”

Jesus never promised that we would not have trial. In fact he said…

“…These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world…”
John 16:33

Carpenters understand the necessity of the foundation. You cannot build a sturdy house without one.

I’m not a carpenter to give you sage advice, but it only stands to reason that a solid foundation will stand.

A house will surely be in storms, that foundation is its stability.

Jesus said that you shall have trial, but you can also have peace.

Peace is not the absence of trial but the evidence of assurance in the trial

Jesus said that our peace is in him.

Going back to the wise and the foolish, the prospect of either depends on how you respond to the Word of God.

Will you heed his word, or will you reject his word?

Your answer will be self-evident.

This is because you can hear, or you can listen. Which one are you?

I’d like to show this to you from another perspective.

Luke 6:48
He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

Luke says this again, but Luke opens up another perspective.

“…and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock…”

I believe that the way that you build on that foundation depends on your foundation’s foundation.

In other words, it’s not just having a foundation, but the truth of the Word of God as the rock, for the true foundation to set your foundation on.

My pastor would say that when you dig, you’re taking out everything that comes between you and Jesus.

That said, what are you building on that foundation?

I will suggest that with the foundation you will add to your knowledge.

I love this…

“…A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction…”
Proverbs 1:5-7

Solomon wrote an amazing thought.

“…A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels…”

Proverbs is heavy wise, in time you can lift it, but it takes a workout.

This is the effect of wise people getting wisdom, it’s constant exposure to the word of God.

“…but fools despise wisdom and instruction…”

You can’t blame a fool for being a fool, he just doesn’t want any wisdom, that’s why his house will fall.

If your temple falls it’s because of the lack of wisdom.

If your temple falls it is defiled.

Seek unto wisdom, take full advantage of the Word of God, his desire is to establish you, can you see that?

This post was more about you as the Temple of God.

The Road to Emmaus is about Christ, but aren’t we Christ in the world today?

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

RTE: The Bronze Serpent

Road to Emmaus:
The Bronze Serpent

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This was going to be the first post right after my opening “Road to Emmaus”

Then I considered calling it “Moses’s Serpent Rod II”.

I would like to think regardless of its placement, that it can stand anywhere alone.

John 3:16 is one of those verses that all of the world has heard, and it’s almost like a sight word, or math answer to which you give no thought.

I’ve seen posters held up at (American) football games at times, “3:16” is the way it is seen and understood as a reference.

In many ways, I think John 3:16 has been desensitized to have little to no effect.

Is it possible that the spirit of the world has found a way to further desensitize the world by blinding them with repeated exposure to the Word of God (look at 2 Corinthians 4:4)?

John 3:16 is probably the most pivotal of scriptures. It’s the point where the law and grace converge.

The mention of…

“…should not perish, but have everlasting life…”

…stirs up judgement vs grace.

I believe there is a depth to this verse that we must constantly seek after to keep the blood of Jesus fresh on our hearts and as we speak the gospel.

Like any verse, it makes sense to refer to it in its context.

A Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus came to speak with Jesus one night. I won’t go into the whole conversation, except to say that Jesus explained that being born again is spiritual, not physical.

That said, the Kingdom of Heaven is spiritual. The only way to see it is with spiritual insight.

Jesus further explains to Nicodemus that understanding the gospel of the Kingdom is also spiritual.

So, Jesus gives him an example.

John 3:14-15
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

We know that Jesus was speaking of his crucifixion to come when he would be lifted up like the serpent that Moses made and raised it in the wilderness.

I’ll get into why Moses did this in a bit, but my thought here is that Jesus has progressed from being able to see the Kingdom, to understanding the mysteries of the Kingdom as of that time, to comparing himself to that serpent in the wilderness which Moses made and raised in the wilderness.

What we probably should look at is that none of this was random.

John 3:8
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

I’m particular about words, even though they tend to make sense on the surface, they still say more in the Greek.

G2309
Listeth
Greek word: THEL’O
This word has a very long definition, go ahead and Google it.

This word is a word that describes clear direction, purposed, to will to have in mind, and to be intent.

Jesus said this of the wind…

“…The wind bloweth where it listeth…”

That’s not the way we see wind. On the grand scale of wind, there are weather patterns that can be predicted by meteorologists.

But in the local, if you drop a dollar in the wind it can leave you chasing it like you might chase a chicken (not fried).

Jesus said that the way the wind moves is calculated, but he’s speaking of those who are led of the Holy Spirit.

Add this to the context of the scripture, that scripture is intent.

We know…

“…For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart…”
Hebrews 4:12

As the Word of God is alive, it is also intent. It not only has a clear direction, it leads the way.

So, even in the mystery, it shouldn’t be a mystery that the direction of the scripture points to a previous event while he’s speaking about the present, as well as that yet to come.

Numbers 21:8-9
And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Numbers 21:4-9 is a brief account of one of the times that Israel was dissatisfied, and they paid the price.

The Israelites were complaining about God, Moses and the manna.

They said…

“…our soul loatheth this light bread…”

Loatheth is a verb word that speaks of loathing, hating, despising.

They were tired, perhaps sick of the manna.

H6973
Loatheth
Hebrew word: KOOTZ
Strong’s Concordance
“…a primitive root (identical with through the idea of severing oneself from (compare H6962)); to be (causatively, make) disgusted or anxious:—abhor, be distressed, be grieved, loathe, vex, be weary…”

On this side of the New Testament, it’s interesting to see how people could be tired of hearing the Word of God.

I would think that people generally are tired of being told told that they can’t do this or that; they may even feel some conviction about their ways because of the light of the Word.

Before I fell in love with the Word, it wasn’t a desire to look into these things, it was a chore.

Looking back at the Israelites in the wilderness, they had the manna, seven days a week they ate manna for forty years.

They collected manna each day five days, on the sixth day they collected enough for two days.

So, day in, and day out they had manna.

On the surface they didn’t hold it up to God as a gift, they didn’t consider that it was God’s provision.

Was God limited in what he could give them to eat, or was he teaching them to depend on him daily?

They wanted more, they wanted bread and water, not this manna.

It was a loathe to their souls, and they spoke up about it.

So, God sent serpents into their camps, many people were bitten, many of them died.

They asked Moses to ask God to take away the serpents, but the serpents were there because of their dissatisfaction of God, and Moses.

God told Moses to make a fiery serpent and to put it in a pole for all to see.

When the people looked on the serpent, they were healed.

[Later on in the future is Israel, the people would begin to worship that serpent (2 Kings 18:4).]

It wasn’t like they had to swear an oath to the serpent to live, nor did they have to worship it, but only to look at it

God was in prophecy mode with this serpent, he was pointing to the cross.

In light of the people’s rejection of God, Moses, and the manna, I also see that it leads to death in that God is the way to life, as well as the manna that represents every word of God (Matthew 4:4).

Who was the first to reject God’s word and pay the price for it?

Genesis 3:4
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die…

Genesis 3 gives us the scene where Adam and Eve tossed out the Word of God for the advice of the serpent.

Aside from the fact that a serpent convinced them to eat of that forbidden fruit, the most prevalent thing is that they turned away from the counsel of God.

How often do we turn away from the counsel of God?

The prospect of Adam and Eve was that they would become as wise as God, the serpent told them this.

Aside from the sense that this serpent is a type of Satan, it also represents the sting of death.

The people of Israel had asked that the serpents be taken away, but they didn’t realize that death was here for the long haul.

Adam and Eve didn’t die physically that day in the garden, but spiritually they were now to be separated from God, which is spiritual death.

They did eventually die a physical death. Adam’s death is recorded, Eve surely died before or after he did.

The people of Israel were given a solution for the time being. The bible doesn’t say that the serpents were taken away, only that God gave them relief.

Numbers 21:9 tells us…

“…when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived…”

I asked earlier if the spirit of the world has found a way to desensitize the Word, to which I say that Satan has opened yet another Pandora’s box.

For every exposure to “John 3:16”; “3:16”, or any other way that it shows up alone in the world, let the Spirit of God bring it to life in those who see it.

Matthew 4:3
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

During the forty days and nights that Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, the devil was close by to help him fall.

This scripture records one of the statements that Satan made to Jesus.

I found this verse many years ago. It looked more to me than a jab that he took at Jesus.

He was probably completely sincere when he told Jesus to make bread out of the stones.

Jesus told him…

“…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God…”
Matthew 4:4

I would think that most of the church has filed away what Satan said to him, to focus on what Jesus answered.

Jesus answered truth.

But what Satan said was recorded for a reason.

It seems reasonable to reject anything Satan says, but it’s a challenge.

Look again at what he said…

“…If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread…”

Aside from the fact that Satan said this, focus on, that now, it is scripture.

It woke me up to the reality of the presence of stones and bread as figures in the Word of God as the Word of God.

What is a command?

I see it as taking authority.

Taking authority of the Word of God for the very purpose of making bread.

The stones represent the Commandments of the Old Testament, but not only the Old Testament but all of the Word of God.

I wish I could take you down this rabbit hole to talk about the many scriptures that speak of bread and stones, and how they speak of the Word of God.

But, Satan said to make bread, so, I make bread. Not as much as Satan said it, but that it is scripture.

Jesus said…

“…Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life…”
John 5:39-40

Jesus gave a long defense to answer for healing a man on the Sabbath, you should go and read it, it’s got so much to say.

Jesus desires for us to seek out the scriptures. It isn’t only that we know them, but that the scriptures will establish us.

Knowing the scriptures with investment, is investment in eternity.

At the end of the chapter, Jesus basically asked them that if they don’t believe what is written, how will they believe him?

Today’s churches are full of people who believe, but more than those who believe in depth there are those who believe on the surface.

That is to say, they are part of the program, but not fully invested.

Look at this…

“…For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little…”
Isaiah 28:10

Here Isaiah was prophesying to Israel about an attack that would come upon them while they were drunk.

I can see a future fulfilling in the day of Armageddon, but that’s for another time.

Isaiah’s prophecy was to the Northern kingdom of Israel before their captivity to Assyria.

Isaiah spoke of those who could be eligible to be taught, but they were either infants in understanding, or of infant knowledge.

There is so much more here to say about Isaiah 28, but this verse tells us that they added laws upon laws, lines upon lines, like there is either too much to carry, or there is no real desire to really take it in.

He spoke of the people being weaned from milk, parable speak.

An infant could not possibly learn anything this complex.

Like Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 3, that the church still needed milk, to be taught the basics, as also referred to in Hebrews chapters 5-6.

The impression I get from these verses is that there is much time and effort to know the scriptures, but there’s no real investment made to make it more than information.

I should know, the Word of God was of little interest to me, for many years, though I studied, albeit half-hearted.

It wasn’t until I found a hunger to know more, to be full more than satisfied.

Throughout the history of Israel there was a constant turning away from God and his eyes Word.

That time in the desert with the serpents proved to be a beginning of backing away from God, something that was prevalent in each generation.

After Solomon’s death, the kingdom of Israel was divide into two kingdoms, the Northern (aka Israel), and the Southern (aka Judah).

Isaiah’s time was before the time of the Northern kingdom’s collapse.

What you might not know is that the Northern kingdom lived in idolatry from after the death of Solomon until their carrying away into bondage by Assyria.

Each king that they had was idolatrous, in fact the first who’s name was Jeroboam set up makeshift altars and a false priesthood to keep Israel from going to Jerusalem to worship (1 Kings 12).

They became dead set to the idea of idolatry, they were drunk with it.

Can you see Isaiah’s struggle?

There’s more to see here, but I’m going to close now.

Do you wonder how I got all of this from John 3:16?

It’s more about the context and the placement of John 3:16.

For starters, the enemy has chosen to blind the world with John 3:16. Perhaps it’s one of those, “keep your friends close, and your enemy closer” kind of things.

But my pursuit of this line of scriptures comes from being born of the Spirit, taken where the “wind listeth”.

The very mention of the serpent that Moses raised in the wilderness should automatically take us back to that day and the reason for the serpents.

Finally, the effect of the serpent sting is death, which brings us back to looking at that pole with the serpent which points to the cross.

In all honesty, it’s discovery for me as well. I don’t always see where the study and the post is going to take me.

Remember my whole reason for the series of the Road to Emmaus is about how Jesus expounded in the scriptures what was written about him?

Keep walking with me, we’ll definitely see more.

Even now, we are to be lifting up Jesus as Moses lifted the serpent, probably not a literal serpent, but the gospel preached, lived, and pursued.

Jesus loves you.

God bless.

Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26