Daughters of Grace: Rebekah

And the LORD said unto her, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”~ Genesis 25:23

I have to confess Rebekah wasn’t always my favorite woman in Scripture. I thought she was a manipulative, controlling woman who deceived her husband and favored one child over the other. But a few years ago, as I was working on my Proverbs 31 Bible study and looking at all of these different women, I began to see her differently. Abba introduced me to his daughter Rebekah, a woman He knew intimately. He let me see her through His knowledge of her. And I began to see her as a beautiful, courageous, grace-filled woman, a woman concerned with and passionate about the plans of God for her family.

Rebekah’s name in Hebrew is Riv’qah. The name means “to tie fast” or “secure,” just as a calf is “secured” in the “stall.” The name denotes merely a tying up of cattle, both for their own protection, the establishment of their home, and to keep them from wandering off. Already in just the meaning of her name we see a woman who is protective about those in her care. Just as her mother in law Sarah was. I’m sure Isaac noticed the resemblance!

There is so much in this story of Rebekah and Isaac. In fact, Chapter 24, which talks about Abraham’s servant finding a wife for Isaac, is the longest chapter in Genesis. But today, I want to just look at Genesis 25:23, which talks about Rebekah’s pregnancy. We’ll save chapter 24 for a post on another day! We find out in Genesis 25 that Rebekah was barren and had been for 20 years. Twenty in the Bible symbolizes redemption. And this truly is a story of redemption….. of protecting the lineage of the Redeemer.

After conceiving, her pregnancy was not an easy one. The Bible says the babies struggled within her. The Hebrew word used is ratsats and means to crush or oppress. It’s a violent word. I’ve had 4 babies, and they all moved around a lot while I was pregnant and occasionally kicked really hard, but it wasn’t violent… I can’t even imagine what that must’ve felt like.

Our English Bibles have her saying, “Why is this happening to me?” And what we can hear in that is a complaint… such as, why me God? What did I do to have such a difficult pregnancy? I waited so long to finally conceive, and now my pregnancy is very hard! She was not complaining or questioning her situation. In Hebrew, it says something more like, “Why do I exist?” Rebekah felt the violent struggle happening in her womb, and she understood this to be a Divine destiny moment that would include her co-participation with God.

And so, it says, Rebekah inquired of Yahweh.

There are two words for inquire in Hebrew. One is bakash which means to request something desired. And the other is darash which means to search carefully for something, examine, or investigate. Rebekah wasn’t just asking God why her pregnancy was so complicated and violent. There is an aleph tav between the words inquire and Yahweh. The aleph tav means the power or strength of the cross. She was inquiring of Yahweh regarding the destiny of these two sons. How they fit in His covenant plan. The word darash also means to tread or frequent a place by regular visitation. It means to seek repeatedly. It is to tread a beaten path. Rebekah had a regularly worn path between her and Yahweh! She was not just seeking an answer to a question in prayer. And she was not requesting anything from Him. We also see that in the phrase she went (to inquire). It is the word halak, and one of its meanings is a lifestyle, a manner of life, to live. This was her way of life! She wasn’t an idol worshipper as her family had been; she worshipped Yahweh. She was a regular Covenant seeker, a seeker of His Divine destiny in her life.

This is the first time a woman is mentioned as inquiring of the Lord. That tells us a lot about Rebecca’s relationship with God. She obviously had an intimate relationship with God and wanted to hear what He had to say on the matter. She KNEW Yahweh. She trusted what He would say to her.

He told her that she had two nations at war in her womb. He said they would be divided from birth….two nations, two kingdoms. The Hebrew word for nations is goyim; it is listed twice, side by side, which is referring to both Jewish and Gentile nations. The Jewish nation of Israel will be from Jacob, and the Gentile nation will be from Esau (later the nation of Edom).

Romans 9:10-13 emphasizes the importance of God’s word to Rebekah. Before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, “in order that God’s purpose in election might stand, not by works but by him who calls she was told, The older will serve the younger. Just as it is written: I loved but Esau I hated.” The LORD’s choice (or destiny) of Jacob, the younger, to inherit His covenant promise was made before the boys were even born. This showed that the choice/destiny did not depend on what either did. This was not about birth order but rather Divine election. Jacob’s destiny was to produce the lineage that the Deliverer would come….to be an heir of the Promise (Hebrews 11:9).

Proverbs 31 says, “Eishet chayil mi yimtza?” “A woman of valor who can find?” The word chayil, generally translated as “valor” or “noble,” is nearly identical to the Hebrew word chayal, meaning “soldier.” The woman of valor is, first and foremost, a soldier. She is strong, competent, and loyal to her family, those whom she protects. This was Rebekah! She was strong, determined, thoughtful, and protective of her family! She was a woman who regularly inquired of Yahweh, seeking His direction and guidance. Should she have tricked Isaac? I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what I would’ve done in her shoes. She was protecting the lineage of the Seed at all costs. She was determined to agree with God.

And truly, was the blessing actually stolen by Jacob? Esau had already given up his birthright…. he had already handed it over to Jacob. Shouldn’t he have told Isaac that? Had this moment come because Rebekkah hadn’t shared the prophetic destiny of the sons with her husband that now Isaac would tragically interfere with that Divine destiny? The Bible says that Isaac’s eyes were too dim to see. The word eyes is ayin in Hebrew and represents perception and knowledge. It says his perception and knowledge, his understanding had become dim or weak and darkened. His love for Esau had made his perception unclear or weak.

Had Rebekah made a mistake not sharing with Isaac all God had said? Again, it’s hard to say. I believe that in courage and fierce determination, Rebekah did what needed to be done for her family, the lineage of the Seed, and what was clearly God’s will. Isaac did not get angry at Rebekah or Jacob. In the aftermath, he understood that Rebekah had been correct and that his assessment had been wrong all along. Jewish tradition teaches that when the Bible says “Isaac trembled violently” after discovering he had been tricked, it was not because he was angry. But because he realized that he had been terribly mistaken.

For so long, I saw Rebekah as a mother who favored one child over the other. I didn’t see her love for Esau. The sages explain that Rebekah understood that if she told Isaac what God had revealed to her about the nature of their sons, he would automatically withdraw from Esau and possibly send him away. She allowed Isaac to love Esau! I love that! Rebekah understood that whatever nation emerged from Esau could only gain from having its origins in the home of Isaac…. from Esau experiencing the love and admiration of his father! It’s possible that because Isaac was not included in knowing his sons’ prophetic destinies, Esau experienced a father who believed in him. I believe he experienced the love of the Father through his father because of Rebekah.

Rebecca understood the importance of God’s word to her. She chose what God had already chosen. But His choosing wasn’t one of blessing and cursing, loving and hating. His choosing was a pre-election of Divine Grace for one to be the lineage for the Seed. He loved and chose both Esau and Jacob… and had a plan for each man (Ephesians 1:4). But there would be a dividing of these nations UNTIL THE FULLNESS OF TIME came, and Jesus Christ would make the two groups ONE new man IN Him, and the dividing wall would be forever torn down.

Maybe like me, you’ve often seen Rebekah through a negative lens… as manipulative and deceitful. I hope this has caused you to see her through Abba’s eyes as His beautiful, courageous, faithful daughter.

The Gospel of Grace is Offensive….

In Luke 4 we are told that Jesus went into the synagogue to read from the book of Isaiah and they were offended with His gracious words… they were offended with His words of grace. Why? Because His words INCLUDED the Gentiles. Grace INCLUDED the outsiders of THEIR covenant with THEIR God! And then Jesus reminds them of God’s goodness towards two specific Gentiles. Two who were according to them “intrinsically impure” outsiders… the widow of Sidon and Naaman the Syrian.

God’s heart has ALWAYS been for ALL people and for EVERY nation… Jews AND Gentiles. He doesn’t have insiders and outsiders. He only has SONS!!

Or to put that into language we understand and speak in the church today… God doesn’t see believers AND unbelievers, church people and worldly people, or even saints and sinners… He only sees SONS!!

Jesus tells them that there were MANY widows in Israel and a great famine in the land, BUT God sent Elijah to minister grace and provision to an unclean Gentile widow in a place that was FULL of idolatry and rebellion. This was absolutely offensive to them! And then His next example was not just offensive, but absolutely impossible to their natural carnal reasonings! Jesus tells them that there were also MANY lepers in Israel BUT none of them were healed except Naaman the Syrian. That was too much for them to comprehend!! Naaman wasn’t just an unclean, Gentile 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? YES!! Because God’s heartbeat is for ALL mankind. 

And 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 great mercy and love, pursued Naaman.

These two examples of God’s eternal covenant with ALL, of His favor, acceptance, and approval of ALL mankind, enraged the listeners that day. It says they were filled with wrath, rose up, thrust Jesus out of the city, and then attempted to throw Him off a cliff! Wow! They were filled with wrath when they heard that God isn’t a God of wrath and judgment but inclusion and love! The word filled is pletho, meaning COMPLETELY full or filled to one’s individual capacity. In other words, they weren’t just mad or even angry… they were COMPLETELY FILLED with wrath. They thought life in covenant with God meant that His favor was solely on them. And therefore His revenge or punishment would be upon their enemies… upon those who came against them. They believed that His defense of them (as the chosen ones, the faithful ones) trumped His mercy on those that weren’t in covenant with Him (all non-Jews). And so they were enraged with Jesus’ description of what covenant life with God looked like.

We in the church have also had a misconception about what covenant 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 it being the teaching of the end of ALL sin for ALL time. We’ve preached a sin conscious gospel to those we label as unclean, sinners, and outsiders of God’s covenant because they haven’t prayed the prayer or come to the altar.

When all along, God has said to call no one unclean or an outsider of His covenant (Acts 10:15).

And He remembers sin no more (Hebrews 8:12).

So why do we in the church continue to see people as unclean? And why do we focus on sin when He chooses not to remember it? The truth is, 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. This is just as offensive to us as it was to the Jews in Luke 4! And while you can’t throw Jesus off a cliff (like the Jews attempted to do)… there are those who will throw people who preach and teach this message of grace off the cliff!! Removing them from prayer meetings, various Christian groups, church, etc. The Gospel of Grace is that offensive to our carnal, natural minds!!!

ALL are INCLUDED in God’s eternal covenant of peace. And the ALL included is NOT provisional based on anything we need to do. There is no “us and them” in God’s logic…. there is only ALL! I challenge you to take off your “provisional/conditional” lens when you read Scripture. Just read the ALL’s and allow Holy Spirit to reveal the FULLNESS of what ALL means. William Tyndale defined the Gospel as the good, glad, happy news that makes a man jump for joy! But we’ve preached a Gospel that tells men they were born with a sin nature and therefore are separated from God. And all we need to do to receive forgiveness of sin is confess that we are a sinner that needs saving. And then because we’ve repented and prayed this “sinner’s prayer,” Jesus will come and live in our heart, we will have eternal life, and we will miss hell.

But is that the Gospel that Paul preached? Is that the good news of the New Testament? Is this truly the new thing that God said He was doing? NO! The Gospel of grace is the message of ALL mankind’s union with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). It is the message of Christ IN you!

In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul is talking about this message of Christ in the Gentiles… in the unclean, sinners, who were not in covenant with God (according to the Jews). He said it was the mystery hid for ages but now revealed to the saints. The word revealed is phaneroó, meaning has become apparent or graspable. They mystery of Christ IN all men has become graspable… it’s been made plain, clear, and apparent! He goes on in verse 27 to say that God’s desire is that those who have awakened to that truth make known to the GENTILES (those we in the church label as unbelievers, heathens, sinners, unrighteous, unclean, etc.) the glory IN them (not among like some translations say – it is the Greek word en). What is the glory IN them? He goes on to say it is CHRIST IN them (just as He is IN you).

CHRIST IN ALL MEN! This was the mystery of the Gospel now revealed, now made graspable and apparent!!

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 being awakened to the reality of Christ IN Him. What!? Saul was the chief of sinners!! He was a murderer and rebellious to the plans and purposes of God!! But there was no altar call, no prayer of salvation, no “asking Jesus to come into his heart.” Galatians 1:15-16 says, “It pleased the Father…. (16) to reveal His Son IN (Greek: en) me. That I might preach Him IN (again the Greek word en) the nations.” Christ already IN him was revealed, made graspable and clear to Saul! And Saul effortlessly became Paul!

When Paul shared his awakening of Christ IN him with King Agrippa, Festus interrupted (Acts 26:24) and said in a loud voice, “You’re insane (or raving mad) Paul! Your great learning (or too much studying) 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 according to Paul this is his (and our) real world!! He was FULLY persuaded that this Gospel 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!

Paul’s message to ALL mankind was — “WAKE UP! You’re not in sin, you’re dead to sin because you died IN Him, you are COMPLETELY resurrected, and your new life is ONENESS, your identity is AS HIM! WAKE UP from your carnal slumber!”

Paul had been an extremely zealous “us and them” religious man… to the point of killing those who had already woken up to what Jesus had done! But now he had awakened to Christ IN him and was zealous about this gospel! He now realized that the Gospel of Grace, this ETERNAL Gospel of WHOLENESS, was for ALL mankind. It revealed a new (FULLY restored) humanity, a new creation no longer in Adam but IN Christ. In other words, mankind now no longer identified with Adam but ONLY with Christ! He preached a gospel that revealed 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 to awaken! To wake up 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 Saul (Galatians 1:15-16).  We’ve made the New Testament teachings about sin and behavior. But the New Testament message is that IN Christ, we have NO association with sin and death.

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.

A Look at Isaiah 59 — Does sin separate us from God?

Today we preach a gospel that says our sin separates us from God…. and that only those not in sin have a relationship or fellowship with God. We categorize believers as those not in sin and unbelievers as those still in sin. The problem with that is that there are plenty of believers who “sin” just like there are unbelievers who do not “sin” and live pretty moral, upright lives.

But Paul preached a Gospel that wasn’t based on our actions but rather on the FINISHED work of Christ. He preached a Gospel that proclaimed that all mankind had been reconciled back to God regardless of their right or wrong actions.

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; ~ 2 Cor 5:18-19

We were reconciled back to God not because of anything we believed, or anything we did. But only because God desired us… desired to be reconciled to us. So He was in Christ on the Cross and reconciled ALL men back to Himself.

Reconciling according to Webster’s Dictionary means to restore to friendship; to settle or resolve differences; It also means to change from an enemy to a friend; and to admit into a community;

2 Corinthians 5:19 also says He didn’t impute their sins against them. Actually, it says trespasses. The word trespasses in the Greek is paraptóma and means a lapse or deviation from the truth, a slip-up, an error; wrongdoing that can be unconscious or unintentional. The root of the word is parapipto meaning to fall away after being close beside; it is to descend from a higher place to a lower place; to stop flying. He reconciled ALL men without considering their sins… those that slipped up, deviated from the truth, made an error because they fell from a higher place to a lower place in their understanding of who they were as Abba’s sons.

Romans 5:10 says God did this reconciliation while we were enemies. An enemy is someone with a deep-seated hatred for another! Romans 5:8 says this is how God demonstrated His love for us, He did it while we were sinners. No repentance or confession required on our part….. it was totally His doing. It says this all happened while we were weak and ungodly (verse 6)… while we were sinners (verse 8).

HE reconciled us…. restored us back to friendship with Him, settled and resolved the differences we had with Him, changed us from an enemy to a friend and admitted us into His community of love. He did that while we (all mankind) had a deep-seated hatred for Him, while ALL mankind was powerless, ungodly, and sinners.

That verse in the Greek says “Moreover (on top of all that)… talking about verse 17, which we’ll have to save for another post! Moreover, on top of all that (talking about our identity as the new creation) ALL are of God who reconciled us to Himself! It doesn’t say “all things.” It says ALL are of God! I love that. He reconciled ALL mankind to Himself on the Cross and that same mankind is His! They are the ALL that is of God. They belong to Him…. those we label as believers, unbelievers, sinners, non-sinners…. ALL are of God! That doesn’t sound like separation to me!

And He did ALL of this on His own without requiring believing, faith, repentance, confession, a “sinner’s prayer,” etc. It was simply to demonstrate His love for us. His relentless, passionate, pursuing covenant love…. which is His chesed! In other words, to demonstrate His resolve to never let go of us, no matter how far we had gone. No matter how alienated we had become in our own minds toward Him (Colossians 1:21)!

So, if that’s Truth… if that’s the Gospel, where did we get the wrong idea of separation from God? The idea that God was too holy to have a relationship with us when we sin?

This concept of separation from God uses the verse Isaiah 59:2: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

This verse doesn’t say God has hidden His face from you and can’t hear you because of your sin. Even though for years that’s what I thought it said! I pictured God with His fingers in His ears and turning His head away from me….. because of sin. How sad! That must grieve God when we think about Him like that.

Let’s read it Isaiah 59:2 in context…..

Isaiah 59:1: Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

The word behold is not a word we use today so we tend to just read it and dismiss it. But the word behold is God waving a giant neon flag at us and saying, “Pay very close attention to what comes next, because it’s especially important!” What are we supposed to carefully give our attention to? What is so important that God does not want us to miss it? This beautiful description of God… His hand is not so short that it cannot save! And His ear is not so heavy (so burdened or dull) that it can’t hear! That’s our Daddy!! Always reaching towards us… always listening to us!

BUT until we have paid attention to that and understand Abba through this light, we will continue to misunderstand verse 2!

Verse 2 says: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that he will not hear.”

Yes, sin caused a separation, a hiding of God’s face, an inability to hear. But it wasn’t on God’s part… it was on man’s. Sin consciousness causes men to see and hear God through a lens of condemnation and judgment. Remember in the garden that it wasn’t God who was hiding from Adam. It was Adam hiding from God. In Genesis 3 Adam’s trespass caused sin to enter the world, but God did not turn His face from Adam, nor was He unable or unwilling to hear Adam. In fact, He showed up ready to walk with him and talk with him just like always. He didn’t hide His face and plug His ears because of sin…. He came into the garden looking for Adam, ready to spend time with him, loving on him, and having his daily conversation with him.

It was Adam who hid. God came looking for him. Genesis 3:8 says, “And they heard (shema) the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” They hid from His face, from His presence. The word hid in Hebrew is chaba and means to withdraw; to conceal. Adam withdrew from God’s face. Sin consciousness concealed God’s face from Adam.

The word we translate obey is shema in Hebrew and means hearing with understanding, attention, and with a response. God didn’t close His ears to Adam. Sin consciousness closed Adam’s ears to God… he could no longer hear with understanding. His hearing became as Isaiah described it in verse 2, dull and heavy…. burdened by sin. Not God’s!

God came looking for Adam. Asking “Adam where are you?” The English phrase where are you is in Hebrew ayeh. Some words are just do not translate well in English. When I used to read Adam, where are you in this verse, I would hear my dad calling out to me because of something I had done, “ROBIN ANN!! WHERE ARE YOU?” I would read in those verses, anger and disappointment on God’s part because Adam didn’t obey! But that’s not what ayeh means. In Hebrew, it is a mournful, sorrowful, lamenting word of grief. God is not yelling in the garden demanding for Adam to come out of his hiding and explain himself, or repent for what he’s done. He is not angry over Adam’s “sin.” He is grief stricken that sin has caused His beloved son to be fearful. One rabbi describes it as: the cry of a lover who is separated from his beloved and this beloved is hiding from the Lover’s presence because of being in agony over having betrayed him.

This is not a picture of an angry God who is looking for Adam so that he can punish his “disobedience.” This is not judgmental, condemning God who is hiding His face and closing His ears to His son. This first look at Abba’s response to sin for us is a picture of a caring Father. One who is full of grief that His son is not where he should be…. in His presence, experiencing His love. He is so very sad, that His son who can no longer see and hear Him. Adam, because of his sin, can no longer see God accurately. Sin consciousness has hidden God’s face from him.

It is not God that is hiding from Adam because He’s too holy to look on sin! Adam’s sin has hidden from Adam who God is. Sin has hidden His true nature from him. And he now sees God through a warped identity, through the lens of sin, guilt, judgment, and condemnation. Instead of seeing God as a loving Father, he sees Him as judgmental and condemning.

And it’s not God that refuses or can’t hear but it’s Adam that has a hearing problem. Oh, he still hears God, but not accurately and not by the Spirit. Now he hears Him through sin consciousness. Instead of hearing words of love and affirmation, he hears guilt and condemnation… he hears judgment. Adam became a man with an identity problem…. no longer seeing himself as a son made in Abba’s image and likeness. No longer seeing himself as loved and accepted. But instead, seeing himself separated from God because of sin. Isn’t it funny that God is the one who came into the garden asking Adam, “where are you” and yet man because of sin consciousness has been asking God “where are You” ever since?

Isaiah is not saying that God is separated from man… turning His face and plugging His ears because He is too holy to look at a sinful man. He is saying that God is displeased with the whole situation that sin has caused. And what does Isaiah tell us that God does in response to man’s sin? He doesn’t reject or abandon us. He doesn’t separate Himself from us! We must keep reading and not just stop at verse two and form a wrong opinion about God.

According to Isaiah, God springs into action. He initiates a saving act whereby he rolls up his sleeves and comes to us Himself through his Son. Through the beautiful incarnation of Jesus!!

And then he tells us that those who turn to God will find that He was ALREADY for them and toward them! In other words, our repentance does not cause God to come to us, but rather, God’s grace precedes and even generates our repentance. Isn’t that what Paul said in Romans 2:4? That it’s God’s goodness (His covenant love for us – chesed!) causes men to repent, NOT men’s repentance causes God to be good! He’s ALWAYS good… Good is just who He is.

This is how the New Covenant (announced in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea and elsewhere) works. Grace to His children who in their sin (in their false distorted fallen sense of identity) can no longer see Him for who He is or hear Him…. thinking He has hidden His face and closed His ears to them!

WE ARE ALREADY FULLY REDEEMED  

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:1 for KNOW that we have a building (the WHOLE man) not made with hands. And it is eternal in the heavens.

The word know is in the perfect indicative tense – meaning it is a completed action, FINISHED! It is an action that is completely done with ongoing results. It is knowing that is not carnal. It’s not based on the five physical senses. It knows by the mind of Christ.

We are we to know? We KNOW that we have FULL redemption IN us because we know that Christ dwells IN us…. and He is Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). This knowing is connected to the previous verse (2 Corinthians 4:18). It says, “So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

The Mirror Bible says – it is the unseen eternal realm within us which has our full attention and captivates our gaze!

Our knowing is seeing in the unseen, invisible (to our natural eyes) realm. It is seeing what He sees and thereby knowing what He knows…. co-seeing and co-knowing! We are to co-KNOW that we have an immortal, eternal, redeemed (WHOLE) physical body!

Paul had just said that the life of Jesus is revealed in our physical bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10). And we experience our FULL redemption by believing and speaking (2 Corinthians 4:13).

And then 2 Corinthians 5:1 begins with “If the earthly house, our tent (speaking of the physical body) should be dissolved (or destroyed).”

Paul is not saying that someday when we physically die THEN, we will have a redeemed, fully resurrected body just like Jesus. NO! He’s talking about us knowing or understanding… IF we KNOW (or understand) that our physical body is dissolved, THEN we will see that we have been FULLY redeemed, and we will experience it NOW in our lives.

The word dissolved or destroyed is kataluo in Greek and means thoroughly loosened. The Hebrew equivalent of loosened, or luo in Greek, is patach and means to open as in an opening of a gate or door and to have no confining barriers!!

Paul was saying our earthly body has NO confining barriers… no sickness, no disease, no aging, no pains, no death! And when we know that, THEN, we will also experience that in our lives. We will be experiencing the reality of a life of WHOLENESS in every area of our lives….. in other words, living IN heaven on earth NOW!

We are whole IN the Father, Son, and Spirit who lack NOTHING because all that can flow from Them is wholeness…. therefore, ALL that is IN us and flows from us is wholeness INTO every area of our life.

Verses 2-3 in the King James says, “For, in this, we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” The Contemporary English Version says it this way, “While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked.”

That sounds like an echo of Adam in Genesis 3:10! He had an awareness of his nakedness, of his mortality, because of sin consciousness causing him to be afraid. Paul isn’t saying that we are to sigh or groan while here on earth because we want to live in a heavenly home someday! NO!


Paul was FULLY persuaded that this new life IN Christ was one of COMPLETE union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with NO DEGREE of separation whatsoever. He’s still talking about knowing and understanding here in these verses. And WHEN we put on the awareness of our WHOLENESS… of our IN-CHRISTEDNESS… we won’t be found naked. We won’t think we lack in any area of our life. We will not feel that we are not FULLY redeemed… FULLY whole!

At one time, mankind groaned and longed not to be found naked, just like Adam. And God came and walked among men IN the incarnation of JESUS, revealing the truth of their WHOLENESS… of their ONENESS with God, revealing that ALL men have always been fully COMPLETE and CONNECTED to God (Father, Son, and Spirit). Paul is telling us that we are thinking wrong — it is not our redemption that is incomplete, but our understanding. Our sense of lack, of being unclothed, keeps us from seeing that our mortality has ALREADY been swallowed up by life — by His life IN us. We are already IMMORTAL!

Verse 4….. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

Back in 1 Corinthians 15:54, Paul tells us that WHEN this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Isaiah said in 25:8 that He (Jesus) 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.

When did Isaiah say that death would be swallowed up forever??? Isaiah said in verse 9 (of chapter 28) that it would happen in the day of salvation. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:2 that NOW is the day of salvation. So we no longer need to groan and feel burdened. Mankind no longer needs to long to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling (our permanent splendor of the heavenly body). We no longer need to desire to be further clothed so that mortality (the inevitability of physical death) may be swallowed up by life. Jesus did that!! He swallowed death forever. He IS resurrection Life IN us. The Immortal One lives IN us…. and as He is, so are we in this world. Therefore, the ONLY conclusion that you can draw is that we are clothed with immortality NOW! The day of salvation has already come!
Being clothed in immortality is part of your salvation package!!

Verse 5….. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

The word prepared means fashioned! He fashioned us for immortality when He created us. And another meaning of the word prepared is FINISHED! I love that! We were fashioned in immortality…. And our immortality is a FINISHED work!! Therefore, we can rest in our immortality, knowing that we were co-raised with Him and death WAS swallowed up in resurrection life! And we are NOW co-seated with Him, resting in our immortality!

Paul says the reason we groan is that we long to be clothed with our habitation from on high. In other words, we groan because we see ourselves as naked thinking that we are mere mortal men. But how can we be? He is our habitation, and we are His! ONE! He lives IN us! He clothes us! We are clothed IN His righteousness, IN His immortality. We can’t be anymore clothed with our habitation from on high than we already are right now. Because we can’t be any more ONE than we already are!

And He gave us the Spirit as a guarantee. Some translations say as a guarantee of what is to come – which makes it sound future. The Hebrew word for guarantee is arrabon and means to braid, as two parties intertwine. That speaks of union, of ONENESS! Our oneness with the Spirit IS the guarantee of our immortality! Why? Because the Immortal One, the Ageless One, the Eternal One lives IN us AND as He is, so are we in this world… in this physical time and space… right NOW! He is the FULLNESS that FILLS ALL in ALL!

Mirror (Eph 1:23): The completeness of his being that fills all in all resides in us! God cannot make himself more visible or exhibit himself more accurately.

BUT because we don’t think our inner man AND outer man are FULLY redeemed NOW, FULLY glorified, we live life in an awareness of perceived nakedness. Thinking in this life, we are subject to sickness and disease, because, after all, we are only mortal, having the shadow of death on our gaze (or eyelids) as Adam and Job did. Not fully realizing that Jesus thoroughly destroyed death (including all of its attributes – sickness, disease, poverty, fear, etc.) and brought to light (revealed) life and immortality (living forever; never dying!) NOW, not someday in heaven!

IT IS FINISHED!!

New I AM HEALED study group to start in February

We just ended our 9 week zoom book study on I AM HEALED. It was such a fun group! People are experiencing the healing of their bodies, minds, emotions, etc. 

We’ve built a community of people who have come to be family!! Our discussions each week are life giving, encouraging, and transparent! They’re raw and unscripted.. I don’t usually use notes… we just discuss the beauty of GRACE and FINISHED!! 

We will be starting a new study group on February 1st, working through one chapter a week in I AM HEALED. If you’d like to join us contact me and we’ll get you signed up. Here is link to last night’s final class video to give you an idea of what our zoom meetings look like.

Worship & Praise is a beautiful CO-participation of grace ~

I teach classes on zoom and I LOVE the questions that I get from my students! They challenge me, cause me to grow, to dig deeper in the truths of Christ’s FINISHED work in our lives, and sometimes create in me new books!


In my last class IT IS FINISHED, I got so many questions about healing and how to manifest it in our lives that I wrote my 3rd book I AM HEALED. For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s not “how to’s” on getting healed but rather the FINISHED work of healing IN us… and our identity as HEALED and WHOLE! And now we are currently doing a 9 week zoom class on that book.


The question this week was what about praise and worship? How does it fit into our lives now that we realize we were never separated from God but are ONE with Him IN Christ… face to face in beautiful intimate union? So many in grace circles are deconstructing from the abuses they endured in religious circles. And praise and worship is one of those things they are letting go of… thinking that worship of God is no longer necessary, no longer valid or beneficial, because God is not an egotistic God requiring or demanding it from us. And while I agree that God didn’t require or demand our worship, it is still something that is so beautiful and necessary in our lives. Not necessary in the sense that we will only receive from God if we worship or praise Him. NO! But necessary because we are DESIGNED and CREATED for worship and praise… to both be praised and worshipped by God and to worship and praise Him… a beautiful entanglement of adoration… a glorious life of CO!!!


Jesus said in John 4:23: But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. What we need to remember when we read this verse is that Jesus is NOT talking to us. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t desire true worshippers who worship Him in spirit and truth… He does! But this verse is NOT saying that God requires our worship or demands our worship. The word seeks is zéteó in Greek and this is where the Strong’s Concordance does not help us but rather reinforces that image of a egotistical demanding God! It uses words like demands and requires as its meaning.


The Hebrew word for seek is masa meaning to find and to discover; and the root means to come forth. The first time masa is used (and in the Greek Septuagint it is that word zéteó) is in Genesis 19:11: And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.They were blind and couldn’t see the door. These men weren’t demanding the door! They were simply searching for something they weren’t able to see. Same with the Father. He isn’t an egotistical God demanding and requiring our worship. He was searching for something that He wasn’t seeing in the earth — TRUE WORSHIPPERS.


In the Old Testament worship was linked to offering a sacrifice — it was rooted in a sense of lack and separation from God because of sin. Hebrews 10:1-2 says, For the law is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. It can never, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, would not the offerings have ceased? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt the guilt of their sins (or sin consciousness). In Genesis 22 we see the first time the word worship is used from man to God. Abraham is going to sacrifice his son to God – which he thought was REQUIRED or DEMANDED in order to prove his love for God.


That was not the worship man was created to give to God… a sin conscious, guilt ridden, sense of lack and separation, servant and not son conscious worship to Abba. How could we have thought that God was demanding and requiring it to feed His ego or for us to prove our love to Him? 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that Love (and John said God is Love!) is not SELF SEEKING!!! The Mirror says: Love has no desire to make others feel inferior and has no need to sing its own praises. The word seeking in this verse, is the same word in John 4:23 zeteo which Strong’s says means seeks, demands, requires. But Paul told us in 1 Corinthians that Love does not demand or require it Self to be praised or worshipped in an egotistical manner. Abba was searching for something He wasn’t finding in the earth — a righteousness based son conscious worship of adoration and praise of the Father who also understood that the Father praises and adores us as well. It’s a mutual flow of love.


Hebrews 10:2 For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. The word worshipper is latreuó. That word is also used in Luke 4:8. It says, you shall worship (proskuneo) the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve (latreuó) . The Mirror Bible says with undivided attention rather than shall you serve. The word latreuó is a word of very intense love Lovers worship or adore one another… it is mutual, a CO-participation of worship, adoration, praise, and celebration of each other.


Make no mistake you are not the only one praising and worshipping…. He is praising and worshipping you as well. One of the Hebrew words for worship is barak. It is found in Genesis 1:28 and is the first mention of worship. Our English bibles translate it as bless, but the word barak means to kneel in adoration. God kneeled in adoration over HIs beautiful mankind… adoring him (and us)…. worshipping him – barak!


And God even praises and rejoices over us!! I know these things sound heretical but the beauty of the New Covenant… of this new creation is CO… a union of co-participation, co-entanglement, co-grace, etc.! This is one of my favorite verses, Zephaniah 3:17 says, God rejoices over you with gladness, he renews you in his love; he exults over you with loud singing and spins around in joyful dancing! The last part says in our English Bibles that He will joy over thee with singing. But that doesn’t quite capture the meaning. It would read better as — He passionately spins and dances, shouting and singing over you with joy because He is overcome with you! Can you see it??? That sounds like David when he danced wildly before the Lord celebrating Him. Again it’s a CO…. a mutual intense love of praise and adoration or worship flowing from one lover to another


Is that not what the book of Song of Solomon is all about?? He is adoring His beloved and speaking words of praise, adoration or worship… words of intense fervent LOVE! His praise and adoration of us as a Lover to His love is almost embarrassing! It’s passionate!! It’s overflowing and generous. It has no reservations, no holding back. And while it’s tempting to read those verses in Song of Solomon allegorically and find spiritual meanings in them… just for a moment bask in the literal words of praise He is speaking over you. Make it personal… hear it personally. This is not an egotistical God demanding and requiring praise.Praise and worship is mutual love flowing back and forth between a Lover and HIs love. It’s healthy! It’s LOVE mutually expressed…. co-praise and co-worship! Oh! The magnitude of that thought!! That God, the Creator of the universe would praise and worship us!! Just the idea of it causes me to become undone!!


And our worship doesn’t have to be the “right” words, you know what I mean? He meets us where we’re at. We may still be bound in wrong thinking, wrong speaking, have some wrong theology… and yet our worship PLEASES HIM!! It may sound dualistic (as in a God up there) or caught up in our wrong identity, and yet… chapter 4, verse 11, of Song of Solomon the Bridegroom says, “Your loving words are like the honeycomb to me; your tongue releases milk and honey, for I find the promised land flowing within you. The fragrance of your worshiping love surrounds you with scented robes of white.” And verse 10 He says, “by merely a glance from your worshiping eyes, for you have stolen my heart. I am held hostage by your love.” In chapter 1, verse 5, He overhears the Shulamite, His beloved, telling the other maidens that she is so unworthy. He praises her, “Yet you are so lovely!” She turns to Him and says, “I feel dark and dry.” He adoringly says of her (again!), “Yet you are so lovely! Like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.” He’s not looking for our right words, or right theology… He is simply ENTHRALLED with us!! He adores us!!


And so, while He absolutely doesn’t DEMAND or REQUIRE our worship, and it’s absolutely our choice to worship or not… if anyone ever deserved our praise it would be Jesus! And yet Love Himself prefers the beauty of co-praise… co-worship… of mutual flowing love from Lover to beloved! Selah!!!

~ Robin

Interpreting Scripture

How are we to interpret Scripture? Christocentric and Christotelic. What does that even mean?

  • Christocentric Interpretation of the Old Testament — Jesus, the Christ is the center and the goal of the entire drama of redemption. Everything points to that. In other words, ALL of our study and teaching of the Old Testament revolves around Jesus, the Christ as the center. And ALL the Old Testament conceptions of God must be understood in the light of Jesus Christ, who is God’s FINAL and perfect self revelation (Hebrews 1). Because everything up to that was an inferior, incomplete, immature, dim understanding of God’s glory. For example, Moses saw the backside of God’s glory but Thomas saw the face of God’s glory in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.
  • Christotelic Interpretation of the OT — This means that we are not reading Jesus back into the Old Testament to revise what it once meant, BUT rather Jesus Christ was the goal (the telos) of the redemption story from the start — starting with Genesis. Christ is the heart of redemption history at every point.

I like what Graeme Goldsworthy in his book, Gospel Centered Hermeneutics: “The hermeneutical center of the Bible is therefore Jesus in His being and in his saving acts — the Jesus of the Gospel.”


There is a similar kind of quote from Peter Enns (Apostolic Hermeneutics and Evangelical Doctrine of Scripture):It is the convictionof the Apostles that the eschaton (the end) had come in Christ that drove them back to see where and how their Scripture spoke of Him. And this was not a matter of grammatical-historical exegesis but of a Christ-driven hermeneutic… for the church, the Old Testament does not exist on it’s own, in isolation from the completion of the Old Testament story in the death and resurrection of Christ


And I love the disciples exclamation on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:32 in the Passion Translation says, Stunned, they looked at each other and said, “Why didn’t we recognize him? Didn’t our hearts burn with the flames of holy passion[c] while we walked beside him? He unveiled for us such profound revelation from the Scriptures!” Their hearts burned with passion inside them!! What was the PROFOUND REVELATION from Scriptures that was unveiled to them? Verse 27 says, And beginning with Moses and all the prophets he carefully unveiled to them the revelation of Himself throughout the Scriptures. Jesus unveiled to them the revelation of Himself in the Scriptures (aka the Old Testament).


Lately everyone is wanting to unveil PROFOUND REVELATION in the Scriptures. But the profound revelation is so simple… it is ALWAYS (whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament) pointing to Christ.


Jesus said in John 5:39 (The Passion Translation), “Everything you read points to Me.”


Paul said in Galatians 3 that the Law was their tutor to point them to Christ. And in 2 Timothy 3:15, he said, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” I love the Mirror Bible translation of that verse: The sacred Scriptures that you were raised with from your mother’s womb dynamically pointed you to the explicit clarity of salvation! God’s belief was always wrapped up in Christ Jesus! And verse 16 in the Mirror Bible is excellent!! It says, Jesus Christ and His work of salvation is the theme of Scripture. The value of scripture in its most complete context is always found in God’s prophetic voice inspiring a thorough education in the revelation of righteousness! This is what carries the breath of God and gives substance and proof to accurately gauge what is being taught.


Any allegorical interpretation we attempt to apply to Old Testament Scriptures that don’t make Jesus Christ and His FINISHED work bigger in your understanding needs to be disregarded as untrue. And any definition of Christ outside of Jesus (who was 100% God and 100% Man) needs to also be disregarded. John said in his gospel (John 20:31 – Mirror Bible), “But what is written here is enough evidence for the reader to be absolutely convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…”


The Old Testament is ONLY interpreted correctly through the lens of Christ centered, Christ as the goal, and bowing to the revelation of Christ in the New Testament. And like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, it’s time to get back to that 1st century obsession… simply looking for Him in the Old Testament Scriptures!

IT IS FINISHED!

The Prophetic Restores

As I was reading Galatians 6, Holy Spirit asked me… “did you see what Paul did there?” I love that about Holy Spirit. He doesn’t say did you see what I did there through Paul… He’s excited about what Paul did! We were designed to live a beautiful, abundant life of CO with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)… a life of co-participation, co-laboring, co-engaging with Them. And as I looked closer to see what Paul did, Holy Spirit began to show me the beauty and ease of prophesying into people’s lives in order to restore them.


Galations 6:1 says, Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.


Here in chapter 6 Paul calls these Galatians brothers. His relationship with them isn’t so great. Back in chapter 4 he asked them why he had become their enemy? They weren’t treating Paul like a brother, or even a friend for that matter. They were turning back to legalism and because Paul was preaching an uncompromised, pure message of grace plus nothing, of the FULL, FINISHED work of Christ, that truth had made him now their enemy. BUT no matter what their perception of him was, or how they were now treating him, he chose to see them only as brothers.
And according to chapter 5 he was FULLY confident that they would turn back and continue in a life of grace by the Spirit.


“Deep in my heart I have confidence that the Lord, who lives in you, will bring you back around to the truth…” (Galatians 5:10 Passion Translation)
He goes on in chapter 6 …


… you who are spiritual restore such a one …


He calls them spiritual!! These Galatians who are considering going back to the law, who are treating him like an enemy, and who back in chapter 3 he called foolish and bewitched!! You would think that he would call them carnal but no… he calls them spiritual! Or as the Passion Translation says, you who are in the Spirit. Spiritual is pneumatikos in Greek. It is pneuma which is spirit and ikos which is a suffix that is added to a noun to make it an adjective in Greek. It means “having characteristics of” “or the nature of.” In other words, spiritual or pneumatikos is having the nature or characteristics of the Spirit.


Paul is saying, you who are living IN CHRIST, you who are living life led by the Spirit, having His nature and characteristics restore one who is overtaken in any trespass. He’s not talking about sin. He’s not telling them to restore someone who is sinning. I always thought that’s what it meant. To help restore someone who has been overcome by sin. To help them get right with God again. Because we have been taught to read words like “overtaken in a trespass” and connect it to sin. But that kind of thought connection is a sin conscious mentality. It is a dull mind. It’s Old Covenant thinking.


Paul hasn’t been talking about “sin” in the entire book of Galatians. Paul knew the power of sin had been broken and that we are free from its power, guilt, and punishment in our lives. He’s been talking about the contrast of law and grace… of falling from grace into the legalistic mentality of works and performance — doing in order to receive or become. Of finding our righteousness in what we do instead of simply who we are IN CHRIST.


… if a man is overtaken in any trespass …


The word overtaken is prolambano in Greek meaning to be overtaken, to anticipate, or caught. And the word trespass is paraptoma in Greek which means a falling away; to slip or lapse and comes from the root parapipto which is two words… para meaning close beside, proceeding from a sphere of influence. And pipto meaning to fall; to fall away after being close beside; to defect or abandon; to have fallen from a close position. It refers to a close follower of Christ who becomes a defector of grace, turning back to law.


That sounds like what had happened to the Galatians — they had fallen from a close position of grace. They had stopped soaring under the influence of grace. The Mirror Bible says, someone who continues to anticipate their next failure. And the King James and the Passion Translation says, someone who is overtaken with a fault. Regardless of the many translations that connect this to SIN, these Galatians are simply falling away from grace into the bondage of the law. Turning away from the influence of the Spirit in their lives, to a life of rules and regulations. They are falling away from freedom and grace, and picking up a heavy load of religion that will only cause them to live life anticipating failure. It’s not about sin or wrong behavior! It’s about bondage!


Can you hear the gentleness of Paul in speaking to them? He’s saying to them this is not who you are! We are brothers in Christ. You are spiritual!! And he’s speaking to them as if they were already FREE from falling away from grace because he is FULLY confident that they will turn back, that they will choose a life of freedom in the Spirit over a life of carnal religious burdens.


The word restore is katartizó in Greek means to prepare or perfect for full destination or use; to bring into its proper condition (whether for the first time, or after a lapse); to properly adjust to be in good working order. Paul is telling them “Brothers, see what I’m doing with you right now? This is what you’ll be doing with others who fall from grace, who are tempted to defect from Christ plus nothing. You will restore them – adjusting them back to good working order by telling them who they are… perfect and complete IN CHRIST.”


What a prophetic verse. Although I’ve never seen it as Paul being prophetic before probably because it doesn’t have the “prophetic language” I’ve grown accustomed to hearing. Paul didn’t preface this first verse with “Thus sayeth the Lord” or “I hear God saying” or “I’m getting this by the Spirit.” He simply sees them through the eyes of Abba and talks to them in love — declaring who they are IN Christ. He was simply being supernaturally natural.


I see in this verse a clearer idea of what the prophetic is….

  • It’s releasing a revelation of restored identity. They are “brothers” – like Paul, born of God or sons of God. They are “spiritual” – they are walking IN CHRIST; living life led by the Spirit to a place of rest, a refreshing place free from the law and its bondage of fear.
  • And it’s releasing a revelation of restored purpose. Adjusting others back to good working order back into the proper condition of understanding who they are IN CHRIST; reveal the Son in them.

So in this one verse, he declares (prophesies) their restored identity and their restored purpose or mission. Although this was not how they were walking at the moment because right now they had fallen from grace and saw Paul as an enemy. But this was how Paul saw them in the future as spiritual sons of God restoring others in their Christ identity. And so he prophesied or declared that about them. I have no doubt that the Galatians repented (metanoia) and turned from legalism… changed their mindset and aligned themselves with the truth. And that they continued to live their lives under the influence of grace…. living their lives in the revelation of it is FINISHED… Christ plus nothing. And that they went about revealing the Son in others just like Paul revealed the Son in them.


Prophecy is easy. It’s simply declaring what God is saying. It’s about restoring identity and purpose in others. It’s the declaration of the FINISHED work in them.