We must first of all understand that Jesus was not the seed of Joseph after the flesh (John 1:13), and that his birth, just like that of all believers, was after the will of God. This truth is what both Joseph and Mary knew. Joseph was a man who loved the law of God, he was a just man (Matthew 1:18-19), this gave him the privilege to bear Jesus according to the Law, the Covenants and the Promises of God, given to the fathers of old.
Jesus’ incarnation was according to his Law, his Covenants and his Promises to the fathers. Jesus did not come as flesh and blood, like every man; he came as the Law, the Covenants, and the Promises of God in flesh and blood. His flesh bore the law, covenants and promises of God and his blood bore the power for their performance. This is a mystery.
While our bodies are for the glorification of God, Jesus’ body was for the atonement for man’s sin that man should attain the glorification of God in his body.
The whole story of Jesus’ earthly life and according to all that testified concerning him, was summarized by Stephen, in his speech before the Sanhedrin, the Council that represented the Seat of Moses in the entire Israel (Matthew 23:2). I see Stephen as an Apostle of Jesus by his deliveries, though not called as such, but his records show he obtained the gift of Apostles (Acts 6:8-10).
Acts 7;37-39; 47-48, 52-53 says “This is that Moses, who said unto the children of Israel, a prophet shall the lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him shall you hear. This is he that was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the living oracles to give unto us: whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt…But Solomon built him a house, yet the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands; as says the prophet…Which of the prophet have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them who showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers; who have received the law as delivered by angels; and have not kept it”.
What does the last sentence of this scripture say?
When Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin, he stood as the law Moses received, delivered by angels to be kept by the very men before whom he was standing. There have been High Priests ordained through the Centuries to keep the laws and their dictates on behalf of Israel.
How did he (the Law) get out of their custody, to stand at judgment before them, and they could not even know him? Remember the dawn at which Zechariah came out of the Temple dumb, unable to bless the Jews? That began the New Testaement era - old things passed away.
While Jesus, in this scenario, was the authentic law, he was standing in judgment before the abused version of the law. Therefore the authentic law was judged by the perverse law, and he was sentenced to death (Galatians 4:21-31).
The judgment that declared this death was carried out under darkness (Matthew 27:1); and the High Priest desecrated his robe (Matthew 26: 65-66), all of which were contrary to the law they were illegally upholding. The Law left the temple, in the body of an angel when the last priest on priestly duties, in divine record, returned from burning incense before God to the people, speechless and unable to pronounce God’s blessings on the people as tradition demanded. This began the incarnation of Jesus and the annulment of the Laws of Moses.
The manifestation of God’s love stood trial before the men of rules, who forgot that the law they were defending and trying to protect was embedded in the love of God, whose emblem stood before them.
The only reason they found to reach the judgment was that it was expedient for one man to die for the people (John 11:50-53). The man who made this declaration was Caiaphas, the High Priest that year; the only living man who had the unrestricted access to God once in a year, in the Holiest compartment of the temple.
This was where the symbols of Israel’s rebellion were kept, as a memorial, buried in the belly of the Chest that represented the presence of God; and upon which the ministration of atonement was acceptable (Hebrews 9:3-8). These symbols were memorials of rebellion, disobedience, and unfaithfulness, they are the law tables (Deuteronomy 10:1-2), Aaron’s staff (Numbers 17:10) and the golden pot of Manna (Exodus 16:33-34), which at this time was only symbolic, because the Babylonians in the times of the Prophets had desecrated the temple and taken all its artifacts.
When Caiaphas made that declaration, he was declaring the counsel of God for the redemption of all things (Acts 2:22-23). The law tables, Aaron’s staff and the golden pot of Manna were also symbols of the Law, Covenants and Promises of God, kept to stay God’s anger, kept awaiting a body that should bear them to the cross: this was the counsel of God (Romans 5:17), and this was what Adam needed: abundant grace and the gift of righteousness (faith).
This same Christ was with Adam in the garden and constantly visited him, and while Adam strove to hide himself, Christ sought him. This is the gospel message of the entire Old Testament system of religion.
Everything that pointed to Moses and all of the Jewish religion was put upon Jesus in flesh and blood, he was nailed to the cross bearing them all in his flesh and by his blood. He obtained for us the life of righteousness, faith to faith (Roman 1:17), glory to glory (II Corinthians 3:18) and sufficient grace (II Corinthians 12:9).
The law exposed sin (Deuteronomy 5:3; Romans 7:9-13; Galatians 3:23-25; Colossians 2:13-14), the law was a guide; it pointed and directed like a sign post but never guarded anyone, and never provided for anyone.
The law brought the sense of guilt (II Corinthians 3:7); while grace brought mercy (I John 2:1), grace is a guard and it guarantees, it provides the sense of righteousness (Romans 7:24-25) and makes provisions available.
I was discussing the principles of the tithe with a brother, and he wondered how the church would be administered without the tithe when I told him it was wrong for any church administration to obligate members to “pay” the tithe.
It is practicable for God not to demand tithes from people who have not encountered him, like Abram did, like Jacob did, and like the Israelites did. At least this is not contestable. My brother believed that if the tithe is not made obligatory, people will not remit it and the church will be in trouble.
His conclusion was that the tithe should be received as a minimum giving a believer should give to “his church”. I told him there are no minimums and maximums when it pertain the things of God. Scripture does not support this (Luke 14.33).
I found out that the teaching on tithe was one of the heresies that greedy men brought into the church. Why should anyone worry about how the church administration is ran when scripture clearly states that we are all labourers with God and no man should glory in men? (I Corinthians 3.9, 21), our sufficiency is of God (II Corinthians 3:5-6); and in Ephesians 4:1-16 it is clear that Jesus is the head of the church, and he, as a bread winner, has provided for his church, and it is from him that the whole body fits together (I Peter 4:9-10).
If congregations are under obligation to “pay” the tithe, it means they are not taught the truth, and the devil leads them to believe that without it, in this case money, the church will not be sustained; this is absolute deception.
The law compels adherence in worship, grace persuades the heart in worship. I told my friend that if there is compulsion of any kind in any dedication to God, then God is left out of such dedication. If a brother must dedicate a giving to God, scripture says let him be convinced about it (II Corinthians 9:6-8). Giving must be out of conviction; and to insinuate that if brethren do not pay tithe, the church may not prosper leaves me with nausea.
False doctrine took the church to the level where contributions to the church needs are collected by deceits, lies and self-centeredness. The fear for how the church is run finds no place with Jesus. The Holy Spirit, who is the earnest and guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14) should be left to worry about how the church should be run, nevertheless, we ordinarily are not to take thought for material things (Matthew 6:25-34).
If Israel was able to keep the laws of tithe, Malachi, the prophet would not have called their attention to its profanity. Malachi’s cautious warnings were to point Israel to Jesus, as the last Old Testament outcry, they were not recommendations for worship, because, the systems of the law were been burdened by the traditions of men and also needed redemption.
Let us consider a practical exercise of scripture: Luke 18:18-27, “…the things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 19:39-40). Let us put ourselves in this story, especially the clergy, putting on the shoes of Jesus; what would be our responses to the rich ruler if we were Jesus?
Let me draw a scenario, bless be the name of the Lord who has made his revelation known, enabling a natural man to know his mind.
First Jesus is confronted by a rich man who wanted to know what to “do to inherit eternal life”. A rich Jew would do anything to be outstanding in any religious duty. Jesus knew eternal life is not about deeds, it is about knowledge (John 17:3), it is about an experience, a reality beyond the ordinary, but this was not the perspective of the rich man when he felt he could do something to inherit life. This is where I draw my scenario of what the clergy would do if they were in the shoes of Jesus:
They would be very concern for this rich ruler, who desires to do something to partake of eternal life. This is a man who has clearly shown he loves God and his kingdom, and desires to be a part of it. They would evangelize him, cultivate him and bring him into the kingdom of God. Many ministers in the shoes of Jesus would do this; they would evangelize, cultivate and bring both the rich and the poor into “God’s kingdom”.
Seeing afar the potentials everyone has, they encourage, and sometimes persuade communicants to “sow seeds”, contribute to build befitting buildings for God, introduce them to “kingdom investments” and more.
I have heard minister testify of how they started, where they were and where they are now, and I see how Jesus should have evangelized the rich ruler, cultivate him and bring him into the kingdom, giving him a good attention, finding a responsibility for him to keep his faith growing and so on…
Luke 18:22 “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, yet you lack one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute unto the poor, and you shall have treasures in heaven: and come, follow me".
The interest of the rich ruler was clear to Jesus, and before anything, Jesus needed to alter his perception about wealth and what it can be applied to. For the rich ruler to get what he lacked, as Jesus indicated, he needed to deal with what he possessed. In Israel, it is impossible to see such a rich ruler who has not exploited the people he rules over, they would usually use this wealth they acquire to assume privileges wherever they find any.
This was the case with the rich ruler, and having dealt with how he should dispense all his possessions, Jesus asked him to do this and then “come, follow me”, which was the actual reply to his quest to know what to do to inherit eternal life (Matthew 11:28-29). He clearly needed the knowledge of God to enter into eternal life.
The inability of ministers to alter the perception of converts, especially the influential ones, has remained the cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of Christian gatherings and fellowship; this is the chief ingredient in the negative proliferation of Christian gatherings and fellowship, a situation where men divide themselves into units, not because they believers.
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