MA Theology Essay – New Testament Interpretation

Isaiah 42:9 says, Behold the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare. And, Isaiah 43:19 says, Behold I will do a new thing. New is ‘chadash’ in Hebrew meaning to rebuild, or to restore. This covenant was a new thing. Ezekiel 37:26 called it a covenant of peace (shalom – wholeness!), an eternal covenant. Our translations say ‘will make’ which sounds like a future doing on God’s part. Something that someday He will do.  But Ezekiel says it’s an ETERNAL covenant. Eternal; not limited or bound by time. This covenant had no time boundaries. The Mosaic Covenant was time-based; it had a start date and an expiration date. It was temporal. But this new covenant, this restored covenant of peace or wholeness, was and ETERNAL COVENANT. It had no start date, and it had no expiration date. It always had been and always would be. This was not a future promise of MAKING a covenant – but past tense, FINISHED, ETERNAL tense I HAVE MADE A COVENANT.

 

Ezekiel goes on to say, “and it shall be with them, and I will establish them, and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst, forevermore.” There are four verbs in this verse – shall be, establish, multiply, and set. Three of them (establish, multiply, and set) are all perfect tense, FINISHED tense verbs. They have already been completed. When? Eternally! Before time ever began! But shall be is imperfect verb tense, meaning it is ongoing and not completed. I like that! This covenant of wholeness SHALL BE! It is ongoing for ALL men at ALL times! It’s not a WAS covenant, or a WILL BE (as in someday!) covenant. It’s a SHALL BE… an eternal, not bound by time, ever-present, for ALL men ALWAYS covenant of wholeness! Anyone at any time in history could walk in this covenant of peace. David did, even while living during the Mosaic Covenant! This eternal covenant superseded it.

The other verbs in this verse are all completed actions. God did all of this before time began. It says He gave, He multiplied, and He set His sanctuary in their midst eternally. And then verse 27 says His tabernacle, His dwelling place, was with them (completed, finished tense). And then it talks about Him being their God and them being His people. One is in the perfect, finished tense and one in the imperfect tense. He said I exist (hayah in Hebrew) to them or for them Elohim (GOD – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Done deal! Never a time He didn’t exist for us and to us as God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). No separation from God’s point of view. Then it says, and they shall be My people. This ‘SHALL BE’ is like the one in the previous verse. It is an imperfect verb tense that is ongoing and not completed. All mankind needed to do was turn and see that there was never any separation on God’s part. That there was always this eternal covenant of wholeness in which He was giving to them, multiplying them, dwelling in them, and walking in them (2 Corinthians 6:16).

There were no time restraints on this covenant. Mankind simply needed to wake up to their eternal union with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  It was an eternal covenant IN CHRIST before the foundations of the world. Paul describes it in Ephesians 1. Verses 3-6 says, He blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, JUST AS He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to sonship by Jesus Christ Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He accepted us in the Beloved. Then he tells us in verse 7 that IN HIM, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace. Verse 11 tells us that we have obtained an inheritance (which Hebrews 9 tells us is an eternal inheritance). All of that – chosen IN HIM, holy, blameless, sonship, redemption through His blood, forgiveness of sins, an inheritance – ALL part of the eternal covenant of wholeness or peace.

For years, I thought all of that came about because of Jesus’ death on the cross 2000 years ago. I had no idea that it was from before time began!! But John in Revelation, 13:8 tells us that He was the Lamb slain before the creation of the world. An eternal covenant with ALL mankind. It didn’t become mine when I prayed the sinner’s prayer or went to the altar, asking God to forgive me of all my sins. No, it was always mine… I just needed to wake up to that truth and experience ALL that He purposed for me to walk in. It was not a NEW thing; in the idea of 2000 years ago, God established a new covenant with mankind. No, it was a RESTORED (chadash) covenant never bound by time. Jesus came to earth to restore what had been from before time ever began. Synonyms for restore: bring back, redeem, set to rights, rebuild.  Jesus came to bring back to our understanding this eternal covenant of wholeness that God has always had with all mankind. To restore it in man’s awareness. To show us what it looked like to walk as a son and heir.

But just like today, not everyone at the time understood what Jesus was saying to them. Israel had their own idea about what redemption would look like. They had their idea of what this “new” covenant would look like that would deliver them from their enemies. And they had a wrong perception of who their enemy was and what they needed to be delivered from. They had a misunderstanding of what was genuinely oppressing them.  God had always delivered them from their oppressor, whether it be Egypt or Babylon, and He would do it again. They believed He would do it through the Mashiach (Messiah – or one anointed as a king) and that this Mashiach would be a great political leader descended from King David. He would be the One who would liberate them from foreign oppressors and extend His rule over Gentile nations.

They had lived so long under the Old Mosaic Covenant that it had produced in their thinking an “US and THEM” mentality, seeing themselves as the chosen ones and everyone else as outsiders of the covenant. Even on their Temple wall, they had several signs on a boundary wall, which, according to Josephus, was 3 feet tall, separating the Jews and the Gentiles. Separating the inner court and sanctuary from the court of the Gentiles. The Jews deemed the Gentiles as “intrinsically impure.” The message etched on the signs said “No alien may enter within the balustrade around the sanctuary and the enclosure. Whoever is caught, on himself shall he blame for the death which will ensue.” This was based on Numbers 18:7: but the outsider who comes near shall die. US and THEM. Insiders and outsiders. But God has NO outsiders of His eternal covenant… not then and not now. John told us because God so LOVED the WORLD…!

In Luke 4, Jesus goes into the synagogue, which was his custom, to read and teach the Word.  The Word was teaching the Word!  This time He went to the synagogue in Nazareth, His hometown.   Jesus had just begun His ministry and was becoming pretty well known for all of the signs, wonders, and miracles that He was doing in Capernaum and the rest of the Galilee of the Gentiles. The scroll was handed to Him, and it was Isaiah 61:1-2. The custom of the day was to stand while reading and then sit and teach on what was read.

However, Jesus changed these verses a bit before He sat to teach. In verse 1, instead of ending this verse with the words and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, He said the recovery of sight to the blind. And then He adds before quoting verse two, to release the oppressed. Can’t you just hear the confused mutterings and whisperings starting to circulate in the room? The people knew these two verses very well. This promise in Scripture was what they were waiting for, deliverance from their oppressor (Rome). The hope was for THEM… not the Gentiles. But Jesus, after reading what God would do for them, healing and delivering them, now He is quoting what they are to do for the nations! He added Isaiah 42:7 and 58:6 into Isaiah 61:1. Isaiah 42:7 says, “To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.” But this verse is what they are to do for the nations, for the Gentiles, for their oppressors! It’s their joint participation with God. It’s their co-laboring with Him. Verse 6 says, “I Yahweh have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant to the people, for a light to the GENTILES!” And Isaiah 58:6 is also a call to their participation with God – to release the oppressed. They were to be Jubilee to the nations by taking care of the poor and oppressed among them instead of waiting for a “day.” They were to be a light to the nations!

And as they sat there pretty much stunned with what He just said, He finished with verse two but left off the part of Isaiah that says, “the day of vengeance of our God.” That was probably their favorite part of Isaiah 61:2, just like sometimes it’s ours in the church. We love to be vindicated, even at the expense or harm of someone else. We love when God judges us righteous and expresses “His vengeance” to those who have wronged us. But that’s not God’s heart. Jesus reminded them of God’s promise to them in Isaiah 61:1 and also reminded them of their part in that regarding the Gentiles. And then He proclaimed NOT God’s vengeance upon their enemies but instead His favor, His acceptance, His approval! Jesus was announcing to them that Jubilee wasn’t only for the Jews but for the Gentiles… for ALL mankind. For ALL of God’s sons!

They had gotten it wrong. They had thought Jubilee for Israel included God’s judgment on their oppressors. But Jesus left that part off! And then He sat down, and all eyes were fixed on Him. And He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Everyone else who had read those Scriptures and taught on them said “someday.” But Jesus said TODAY! Jesus was saying to them everything you’ve been waiting for is here!  The Jubilee you’ve been hoping for stands before you… I AM your Jubilee… I am your Messiah…. the Messianic age (the age of Salvation) has begun… it is no longer a future hope. They no longer had to be poor, broken-hearted, captive, blind, or bruised.  His words to them were, “Your Messiah is here!  Salvation has come!”

Jewish expectation was that when Messiah arrived, He would not only restore the fortunes of Israel but would do so by destroying her enemies.  They expected a Messiah who was a Warrior King!  Such an exclusion from this reading of Scripture was unthinkable for most Jews. Deliverance from captivity always included destructive judgment upon the enemies of God who enslaved or oppressed them. He had delivered them from Egypt, from the Babylonian Empire, and the Medo-Persian Empire. Why should the Roman Empire be any different?  But what they failed to understand was that God was doing a new thing or rather He was restoring!!

He also gave them examples of Gentiles that Elijah and Elisha had done miracles among.  When He begins talking to them in verses 23-27 in Luke 4, He was addressing their neglect of being a people of The Blessing…Gen 12:2 “I have blessed you to be a blessing to ALL families of the earth.” Of being a light to the nations.  In verse 23, Jesus indicates that they are asking for signs and for the blessings to flow in their town because so far, Jesus had been doing miracles in Capernaum, which was a city of both Jews and Gentiles.  Jesus was indicating that He had also come to be a light and a blessing TO the Gentiles.  This would include their Roman oppressors… unthinkable!  Were they offended that His gracious words, His words of grace, were towards the Gentiles… toward the outsiders of the covenant? And then He reminds them of God’s goodness towards these two Gentiles… these “intrinsically impure” outsiders, the widow of Sidon and Naaman the Syrian.

God’s heart has always been for ALL people, every nation… Jews (believers) AND Gentiles (unbelievers).   This widow of Sidon resided in a place that was full of idolatry and rebellion. The widow represented Gentile sinners, those unclean, which was bad enough…. but His next example was unthinkable to their natural reasonings! Naaman represents much more than that just someone unclean, a sinner, he was the captain of the Syrian army. The Syrians oppressed Israel. They were enemies of Israel.  Much in the same way that the Romans were the oppressors of the group sitting and listening to Jesus.  Surely Jesus wasn’t asking them to be a light and a blessing to their oppressive enemies, was He? But God’s heartbeat is for ALL mankind.  He was so intent on showing the Israelites His love and compassion for ALL people that He chose one of the most hated men in Israel at that time to prove it.  God in His mercy and love pursued Naaman…. there were MANY lepers in Israel, but none of them were healed except Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:27).

These two examples of God’s eternal covenant with ALL… of His favor, acceptance, and approval of ALL mankind, so enraged the listeners that day that it says they were filled with wrath, rose up and thrust Him out of the city, and then attempted to throw Him off of a cliff! Wow! Filled with wrath! The word used is ‘pletho’ meaning COMPLETELY full or filled to one’s individual capacity. They weren’t just mad or even angry… they were COMPLETELY filled with wrath. They thought life in covenant with God was His favor on them, and His revenge or punishment upon their enemies… those who came against them. They were enraged with Jesus’ description of what covenant life with God looked like.

We’ve also had a misconception about what life with God looks like. We’ve erred in our understanding of this “new” covenant life. We’ve also had an US and THEM religious mentality. We’ve made the New Testament teachings about sin, instead of the end of all sin for all time. We’ve preached a sin conscious gospel to the unclean, the sinners, the outsiders of God’s covenant. When all along, God has said there are none unclean, and there are no outsiders of His covenant. And He remembers sin no more… therefore from His perspective, there are no “sinners.” Because for Him to see them as sinners would be to recall sin, and He has no memory of sin.  He has reconciled ALL men to Himself. ALL are justified and reconciled according to Romans. He is the Light that has given life to ALL men. He brought life and immortality to light through the gospel… to ALL men.

But we’ve preached another gospel. Tyndale defined the gospel as the good, glad, happy news that makes a man jump for joy! We’ve preached a New Testament gospel that has you confess that you are a sinner, that tells you that you were born with a sin nature and that you have been separated from God because of sin. And that we will receive justification and forgiveness of our sin because of OUR faith IN Jesus if we will just repent and believe and pray this “sinner’s prayer.” But is that the gospel that Paul preached? Is that the good news of the New Testament? Is it truly the new covenant that God said He was doing? NO! The gospel of grace is all about our (ALL mankind) union with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  Colossians 2:12 (Mirror Bible) says, “your co-inclusion IN Christ is what God’s faith knew when He powerfully raised Him from the dead.” And He wasn’t raised alone — we were co-raised IN Him 2000 years ago. Hosea 6:2 says, “And on the third day He will raise US up so we can live in His presence.”

Paul’s message was: INSIDE YOU IS CHRIST! He used the phrases “in Christ,” “in Him,” and “in Whom” over 130 times in his writings. And he described his conversion as the awakening to Christ IN Him. Galatians 1:15-16 says, “it pleased the Father…. (16) to reveal His Son IN (Greek: en) me. That I might preach Him IN (not among like some translations say; it is the Greek word “en”) the nations.” When Paul shared his awakening of Christ IN him with King Agrippa, Festus interrupted (in Acts 26:24) and said in a loud voice, “You’re insane (raving mad!) Paul! Your great learning (too much study) has driven you out of your mind.” The Message Bible says, “That was too much for Festus: He interrupted with a shout: “Paul, you’re crazy! You’ve read too many books, spent too much time staring into space! Get a grip on yourself, get back into the real world!” But this is the reality for Paul!! His persuasion was: this Gospel that he preached is how we are to live our new lives IN Christ; whole in every area of our lives: spiritual, mental, physical, social, and financial; nothing missing, and nothing broken! His message to mankind who had died and was now FULLY alive in Christ was: “WAKE UP! You’re not in sin, you’re not dead, you resurrected, and your new life is oneness, your identity is AS HIM! AWAKEN!”

Paul’s awakening was that the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of Jesus, the Gospel of God, this Gospel of WHOLENESS was for ALL mankind. It revealed a new (restored) humanity, a new creation, one that was no longer in Adam but IN Christ and man no longer identified with Adam but Christ! He preached a gospel that revealed the truth that ALL of Adam died at the cross, and no part of him survived. Christ did a COMPLETE, FINISHED work that changed ALL of mankind (believers AND unbelievers!). There is nothing more needed except awake to it, awake to who we are in Him. And that’s something the Father takes great delight in, waking us up by revealing Christ IN us, just like He did IN Paul (Galatians 1:15-16).  Paul didn’t preach a Romans road TO salvation sozo – wholeness) focusing on sin consciousness. He taught a FINISHED road OF salvation (sozo – wholeness) focusing on son consciousness.

We’ve made the New Testament teachings about our behavior. But Paul didn’t preach behavior! He preached about consciousness. About awakening to who we are IN CHRIST and that we have NO association with sin and death. Hebrews 10:2 says, “the worshippers once purged should have NO MORE knowledge of sins.” In verse 14, the writer of Hebrews informs us, “because of Jesus’ ONE offering, HE has perfected (finished, completed, past tense!) all those sanctified.” We are FINISHED, COMPLETED, PERFECTED, SANCTIFIED IN HIM FOREVER. But instead of teaching that we’ve taught the New Testament from a perspective of progressive sanctification. I like what Paul Anderson Walsh said in his Romans teaching, “sanctification is NOT a progressive rectification of your behavior; rather IT IS a progressive recognition of your identity.” That’s so good!!! The more we wake up to the recognition or the awareness of who we are — WHOLE, COMPLETE, DIVINE… image and likeness of God, the more we will walk like it!

We are sons! And as sons, we are divine, immortal, gods. In fact, Jesus reminded the Israelites of that very truth in John 10. He had spoken of His co-union, His oneness, with the Father in verse 30 saying, “I and the Father are one.” I… Ego! The term ‘ego’ was only used when you were expressing something emphatically. He said we ARE (eimi – exist; to be) one… we exist as ONE. It’s a life of co-existence, co-union, ONENESS! To see Jesus is to see the Father! This enraged them, and they picked up stones to kill Him!! When asked why their response was because He was a mere man and yet making Himself equal with God. Jesus responded by reminding them of what is written in their law (Ps. 82:6), I (ego) said you are (eimi) gods!

Psalm 82:6 says I said you are ALL gods and sons of The Most High. All gods (divine nature), all sons (implies union, oneness)! This is the eternal covenant of wholeness! He breathed into us (Genesis 2:7) His divine nature, His limitlessness, His incorruptibility, His immortal, eternal, infinite self! We are divine ones, kings, priests, lords, gods! God is our Father (ALL mankind), and so we are of the same substance – God begat gods! This is who mankind is! This is God’s account of us! But the body of Christ identifies more like servants than sons. We’ve misunderstood what the “new” covenant life looks like. We’ve seen ourselves as the Romans 7 man… struggling between an old sin nature and a new redeemed nature. Always focused on sin and separation from God. Failing to understand that AS He is so, are we IN this world.

And the problem is, that perception creates belief, belief creates an experience, and our experience creates our reality. A perception of sin creates the belief of being separated from God unless we clean up our act. That creates an experience of death – sickness, disease, poverty, lack, addiction, fear, etcetera. And those experiences become our “reality” in this life. But this “reality” is distorted. It’s not real from God’s perspective, and it exists only in the appearance realm.

We’ve limited the “new” covenant to getting our watered-down version of salvation. Salvation for most is about making heaven and missing hell. And in the meantime, we will suffer “normal” things like sickness, disease, death, lack, etc., in this life. BUT SOMEDAY, when we get to heaven, we will have a resurrected, glorified body and suffer no more. There will be no more sickness, no more disease, no more death. He will wipe away our tears. And we will dwell with Him forever ruling and reigning. Most of the body of Christ teaches some type of version of this as New Testament life. But it is so contrary to what the New Testament actually teaches. And it’s not even what the Old Testament taught!

Isaiah 25:9 says, “And, it will be said, in that day, behold this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Verse 8 describes what that salvation looks like. “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.” Wait! That’s talking about a future hope. A second coming right? 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our works, but by His own purposes and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time eternal.” Titus 2:11 says, “the Grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to ALL men.” Ephesians 2:8 says, “for it is by grace you have been saved…” Those are just a few, but I think it’s safe to say that He has saved us… past tense finished work. Not something He will do… not a future hope but a present reality!

Isaiah said in that day of salvation He would swallow death forever and wipe away every tear. 2 Timothy 1:9 above said that salvation was brought to all men. Verse 10 says, “but has NOW been revealed (salvation) by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light life and immortality through the gospel! 1 Corinthian 5:54 tells us that death was swallowed up in victory! And Romans 6:9 tells us that death no longer has dominion over Him. So, if part of salvation, according to Isaiah, was death being swallowed up, then it’s also safe to say that ALL of our tears have been wiped away regardless of how circumstances in life contradict that. That sounds a lot like Revelation 21:4 that says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” We thought that was a future, someday, either in the sweet by and by, or the 2nd coming of Christ, happening. But the old order has passed away – 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “therefore if anyone is IN CHRIST he is a new creation, the old things have passed away, behold the new has come into being.” Maybe, we’ve had a wrong perception of salvation, which has affected our experiences in life.

One more… in Exodus 14, Moses tells the people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Yes, salvation has always existed! 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that salvation was IN CHRIST before time began AND made revealed through the appearing of Jesus (v. 10). Salvation was never bound by time! So, in Exodus 14, Moses tells them to stand still and see God’s salvation. And then he goes on to say, the Egyptians (a type of death – sickness, disease, poverty, fear, lack, etc.) whom you see today, you shall see NO MORE FOREVER!  Saved in Hebrew is a weighty word. It means to deliver, to rescue, to give victory to; it is to transfer from one realm, one reality, one experience ALL THE WAY to another realm, reality, and experience.

The Israelites were saved – they were delivered out of the realm of Egypt (a type of SIN, the condition) and out of the experience of the Egyptians (a type of DEATH – sickness, disease, poverty, lack, etc.).  Saved is not about going to heaven and missing hell. It’s the transfer of one realm (sin, the condition), one reality (bondage in the appearance realm), and one experience (death – sickness, disease, lack, etc.) to another – to IN CHRIST, to WHOLENESS in every area of life here and now! Isaiah 26:12 says, “You will establish peace (wholeness) for us for ALL of OUR works you have done for us.” He did it ALL for us.

There is nothing for us to do but simply REST in His finished works. We can stop trying to have enough faith, love, strength, holiness, steadfastness, etcetera. All of that has been finished, completed, perfected for us. Romans 5:1 says having been justified by faith, we have peace with (pros – face to face) God through (dia – completely, successfully through) our Lord Jesus Christ (Yahweh). We have peace… we have wholeness because ALL He did, He did for us – AS us!

So, when our perception is IN Christ… ONENESS, then our belief is His life IN me, AS me, and flowing through me. And then my experience is WHOLENESS in every area of life, and that becomes our reality in life. And then, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 takes on a whole new meaning! A NOW meaning instead of a future, someday meaning! We’ve made everything a future fulfillment when God has definitely said ETERNAL! Eternal didn’t start at the cross… our salvation, our redemption, our life, our inheritance, etc. didn’t become eternal when Jesus said IT IS FINISHED. Eternal has no beginning and no end… it is not time-bound. But we have been. Always looking for the last day when we will be raptured out of here when we will hear an angel blow the final trumpet and THEN we will be changed entirely…. completely WHOLE. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul talks about the last trumpet. What did that mean to Paul’s listeners?

In verse 51, Paul says, “Behold! I tell you a mystery.” Or something that can only be known through revelation. Then he says ALL will not sleep (or die); however, ALL will be changed (transformed)! I can hear the excitement in Paul’s voice… he’s about to reveal something to them that if they (and us!) will grab hold of it, it will forever change them! The words “will not sleep” and “will be changed” are both future, indicative, passive tenses. Future indicative means it’s an absolute fact that this will happen… in the future. It’s passive tense, meaning it will occur without their doing. But Paul’s not talking future as in after we are raptured and go to heaven. So, when is this future? We have to continue reading.

Verse 52 says, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in (NOT at!) the last trumpet. The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. I always thought that was talking about the rapture…. an angel would blow the last trumpet and whoosh we’d be gone! We equate the last trumpet in this verse with the final trumpet in Revelation! The problem is that Ephesians was written 34 years BEFORE John wrote Revelation. Paul’s listeners wouldn’t have had any knowledge of a 7th angel blowing a trumpet. So, what does the last trumpet mean? It has to do with Rosh Hashanah, and it has nothing to do with being raptured or left behind!

Tradition says that on the last day of Rosh Hashanah, the shofar (trumpet) would blow calling all to the temple where a particular door (opened only at this time) would be opened. Two might be standing in the field, and only one would go since one might not be a Jew. No man knew the day or hour when the blast of the shofar would sound, for it occurred on the sighting of the new moon. Hence this celebration falls upon two days, for two witnesses would watch until both sighted the new moon sliver – then and only then would the shofar be blown. This shofar or last trumpet was called The Awakening Blast.

So, when is the future not dying (sleeping) and being transformed that Paul is talking about? When they hear the awakening blast (the last trumpet) and awake!! That future time is different for everyone. But one thing is clear… it will most definitely happen (indicative mood) and not because of anything you do (passive voice)! That’s good news!! We will ALL awake and be changed (transformed) in an instant. In an “atomos” meaning a split second, so quick that it is impossible to measure in time. In the twinkling of an eye indicating a rapid movement or jerk of the eye. The root of the word means to cast down in a sudden motion. In an instant, we will see the truth of who we have always been IN HIM, and our eyes will jerk away from seeing who we thought we were and that false imagination will be cast down! And then it says the dead will be raised imperishable. When? When they awaken to their actual state…. imperishable, immortal, incorruptible, undecaying! And again, it says, they will be changed. When? When they awaken.

Verse 53 starts out with, it behooves. Meaning, it is necessary, it must absolutely happen! It’s also present indicative, which means it must be essential and must absolutely occur in our lives continually. And it’s in the active voice saying this is something we must continuously do. What must absolutely happen? The perishable must put on imperishable. And the mortal must put on immortality. WHEN? When you awaken to the truth of who you indeed are right NOW… imperishable and immortal. Imperishable means incorruptible, unable to experience deterioration, lacking the very capacity to decay or constitutionally break down, eternal existence. Immortality means without death, not subject to end or literally, deathlessness. It is freedom from death! It says we are to put on imperishability and immortality. We are to clothe ourselves in imperishability and immortality. How do we do that? Ephesians 4 links clothing ourselves in the new man to renewing our mind. Colossians and Ephesians both tell us that we are to renew our minds according to the image of God. Put on means to sink into a garment. It is to cease from struggling to be and just relax in who we are…. image and likeness of God – imperishable and immortal!

Paul goes on and in verse 54, telling us that when that is done – THEN will come to pass (or will be) the word written: the death is swallowed up in victory! Will be is a future indicative, meaning it’s a future fact that will definitely happen in our lives. So, when is this future? When we awaken and put on (clothe ourselves) in imperishability and immortality. When we begin to be conscious of the truth that we are FREE from death, decay, corruptibility, the capacity to decay, deterioration, sickness, disease, aging, etc. And that we are as He is in this world… IMMORTAL and IMPERISHABLE! Swallowed up is past tense, finished tense fact meaning destroyed! Death HAS BEEN destroyed.

Verse 56, says, the sting (poison) of THE death is THE sin (hamartia – mistaken identity; missing the mark), and the power (force) of THE sin is the law. Law or “do to be” empowers sin (hamartia – mistaken identity), which releases the poison of death in our lives… physical death, sickness, poverty, disease, lack, etcetera. In verse 57, He is giving us the victory. What victory? The triumph that death having been totally defeated in our lives! How? The word “through” is “dia,” meaning completely, successfully through our Lord Jesus Christ. He IS giving, which is the present tense—continually giving us victory. How? The awakening blast will sound again, and again, and again in our lives. Awakening is an unfolding in our lives, and we awaken to more and more of who we are all the time… of who we ALWAYS have, ETERNALLY been.

The New Testament is one generation of believers living out their “new” restored life IN CHRIST. That was approximately 2000 years ago! Two thousand years should have produced a generation walking in the awareness of our complete wholeness… nothing missing, nothing broken in any area of our lives.  We should be walking in complete freedom and liberty and walking in the abundance of hyper-grace in our lives. Living lives, giving no thought to sickness, disease, poverty, or even death! Walking in an understanding of our immortality, of our divine nature. ALL of creation should no longer be waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God because 2000 years produced a generation completely aware of their sonship and walking in their rightful authority and dominion.

But instead, we often experience lack, sickness, disease, poverty, addiction, etcetera. We live our lives subject to rules and regulations that we “read” in the Bible. Living lives under the law instead of grace. We have very little (if any) understanding of our own immortality and divine nature. Instead thinking we have a dual nature of God and sin. We think hyper grace leads to sin, not realize that sin was FULLY dealt with on the cross. And we live lives unaware of our sonship, not realizing that we have complete authority and dominion over all the works of God’s hands. In fact, most live their lives with an orphan or slave mentality, subject to circumstances that happen in life. Two thousand years should’ve looked very different if we were to continue as a church to grow in the revelation of our IN CHRISTEDNESS that Paul taught.

I’m not waiting for a resurrected, glorified body someday; I’m awakening day by day to the reality of it now in this life. I like the J.B. Phillips translation of 1 John 3:2: “Oh, dear children of mine (forgive the affection of an old man!), have you realized it? Here and now, we are God’s children. We don’t know what we shall become in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness, for we should see him as he really is! This is J. B. Phillips paraphrase. The Apostle John, in the original language, said “beloved” and didn’t say, “forgive the affection of an old man! “That’s purely J.B. Phillips take on this verse. Nevertheless, I do like the part of the verse that says, “We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect His likeness, for we should see Him as He really is!” Where does reality need to breakthrough? In our thinking, in our awareness, in our understanding. The Mirror Bible says it like this, “Beloved, we know that we are children of God to begin with, which means that there can be no future surprises; his manifest likeness is already mirrored in us! Our sameness cannot be compromised or contradicted; our gaze will confirm exactly who He is – and who we are.”

John isn’t saying that we shall SOMEDAY be like Him. He uses the word “phaneroo” which means realized, thoroughly understand, to recognize who and what one is plainly. He’s exhorting us that when we realize that we are like Him when we thoroughly understand Him, then we will reflect Him in our lives. And then in chapter 4, John tells us, “AS He is, so are WE in this world.” This is a right now verse. It’s not as He is, we will someday be when we go to heaven. NO! Right NOW, in this world, in our ordinary daily lives we ARE just like Him!!  When we really see Him, when reality breaks through, we will realize that “AS He is — we IS” HERE and NOW in THIS world! Then we’ll stop waiting for future manifestations and live in the NOW-ness of His finished work… experiencing wholeness in every area of life.

This is the message of the New Testament – it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives IN me – it’s the IS-ness and the NOW-ness of His life IN us, AS us, and through us!!

 

 

 

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