Taking a stand

How essential is it for a nation to know their identity, their DNA, who they are and what they stand for?  What have we been taught about our origins from the academic and scientific establishment?

God says “my people perish for lack of knowledge”, Hosea 4:6.  It’s followed by a solemn warning about the consequences of rejecting knowledge.  Again, he says “people without knowledge will come to ruin.”  In Proverbs he urges us “Whatever you do, get knowledge, get wisdom.”

I’ve just finished reading for the second time a book “After the Flood” by Bill Cooper, an English historian.  This book shows how European history can be traced right back to the flood and the descendants of Japheth, the son of Noah, through contemporary accounts and the table of nations.

The third chapter opens with a quotation from Nennius, a Welsh monk from the 9th Century;  “I Nennius, pupil of the holy Elvodug, have undertaken to write down some extracts that the stupidity of the British cast out; for the scholars of the Island of Britain had no skill … I have therefore made a heap of all that I have found …”‘

Bill Cooper suggested the word Nennius used for stupidity would have been better translated as “complacency” or “lethargy,” the mood of the Britons that followed in the wake of the massacre of the monks at Bangor.

You see, their knowledge had been taken away from them.

“The profound cultural shock of seeing their finest scholars and spiritual leaders massacred by supposedly fellow Christians at the instigation of a Roman Bishop no less, would have left a very deep wound indeed, and it is this state of mind amongst the British or Welsh that Nennius laments and which lead to the neglect and loss of many records and books.”

Christianity was already established in Britain before Rome arrived.  “That Christianity was firmly established in even remote parts of Britain at the close of the second century is shown by Tertullian stating “the Britons in parts inaccessible to the Romans, Christ has truly subdued.”

British Bishops attended the Council of Arles in 314AD, before the Roman Catholic church was formed.  When Augustine went to Britain in 601AD as a representative of Rome, he could not get them to convert.  The Welsh already had the true faith, given to them by the early church, and they did not need any new innovations from Rome.

When the monks refused to accept the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, he instigated the Saxon army to attack the monastery at Bangor-is-y-coed, killing 1200 monks and scholars.

Much was lost, including the history of the early British kings.  To regain what was lost, I recommend you read the book “After the Flood.”

And now here we are at the end of the age.  Has Britain abandoned its Christian heritage?  Is Britain again in the grip of a culture shock following political correctness and imposed multiculturalism, with the resultant Islamic attacks in its cities?

Dunkirk70th AnniversaryDid you know that in World War 2 the nation, led by its King, prayed?  When Britain stood on the brink of invasion, with 330,000 men trapped on the beach at Dunkirk, King George VI called for an unprecedented week of prayer.  Throughout the country, people prayed on 26 May 1940 for a miraculous delivery.

May 29 was the day of the evacuation of Dunkirk.  We know what happened.  On the 28 May a storm of unprecedented fury grounded the German Luftwaffe – while the English channel became as still as a millpond, despite the storm in Flanders, enabling a vast armada of little ships, big ships, warships, privately owned motor-cruisers from British rivers and estuaries – in fact, almost anything that would float – to get the men off the beach.

The Queen has the title “Defender of the Faith.” Does she defend it?  In 2014 she gave into political correctness, signing into law same-sex marriage, a law that the nation never gave the government a mandate for.  Following that, Britain had a series of storms that were described by the British prime minister as “biblical.”

flooded-crypt-at-winchester-cathedral-2-14

The flooded crypt at Winchester Cathedral, 2014

Who is going to the defend the faith now?  British people, you do have a King … the same King as the Polish people.

Here is Poland the following year.  In November of 2015 Poland marched in the streets and took a stand for Christianity. They declared boldly to the world “here, Jesus Christ is our King!”  It was the biggest march in Poland’s history.  The media were silent.

Is it time for the spirit of the nations to rise, to go to war again through intercessory prayer?

John R. Mott, Nobel Peace Prize winner, said “The Church has not yet touched the fringe of the possibilities of intercessory prayer. Her largest victories will be witnessed when individual Christians everywhere come to recognize their priesthood unto God and day by day give themselves unto prayer.”

Britain, as the sun sets in the west, may you remember who you are.

Bregret


Link

Battles in the spiritual realm
Massacre at Bangor
After the Flood

Nennius and the Table of European Nations

 

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The rider on the white horse

Horse-homage

WWI soldiers shown paying homage to their equine partners

In NZ we’ve just observed the centenary of the battle of Gallipoli, where ANZAC troops fought for the British empire.  On Anzac Day I watched the movie “War horse”.   It bought a lump to my throat and made me think of our own horses.  Of the thousands of horses shipped off to war from New Zealand, only a horse called Bess came back.    

There were lots of tears by those men over their horses, and I know the Lord understands.

When Jesus returns as the King, he will be on his own warhorse, at the head of his army.

Perhaps God had the war horses in mind when he inspired Job to write about the horse in the earliest book of the Bible;

“Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?
It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.
It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
Job 39:19-25

Holy to the Lord

There will be horses in the Millennial Kingdom.   You will hear the sound of their bells as they trot, and on their bells will be the inscription “holy to the Lord.” Holy means “whole”.  When Jesus reigns in his kingdom, all will be made whole.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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.”  Revelation 21:3-4

But be aware that before the second coming, we will be hearing the hoof beats of the first horseman of the Apocalypse – the rider on the white horse who is given a bow and told to conquer.  Just remember – that’s not Jesus. It will be Apollyon (the destroyer) imitating him.

So while the world is going ooooh and aaaahh marvelling over the fake Messiah, remember the warning Jesus gave us in Matthew 24:5;
Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my Name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  – Matthew 24:1-26

Jesus will come like a thief in the night for the Church; an event as sudden as lightning.  After that He will return at the end of Tribulation on his white horse, for all to see.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Revelation 19:11-13

Jesus wins

The ultimate reveal

This is going to wander a bit, but I hope you’ll bear with me.  We’re going to go from clothes, to Chinese characters, to Mount Hermon, and back to clothes.  I promise you it will be interesting.  It’s based on the theme of “light”.

Lately I’ve had to take more of an interest in fashion.  My daughter made me an appointment with a style consultant at the shopping mall where she works.  It was to help me sort out which outfits and colour combinations suit me best.

I’d rather wear clothes that suit me than bow to the current fashion fad, and I hate uncomfortable womens shoes. I grew up on a farm wearing jeans and gumboots.  Now I work in a computer workshop, wearing pants and a monogrammed polo shirt. My daughter on the other hand, works in retail fashion, and has no trouble choosing clothes and shoes.  She was inspired to help women with clothes because of the difficulty I have experienced getting help and advice when shopping.

I was anxious about the consultation beforehand, but I needn’t have worried.  The stylist was really helpful and didn’t judge me.  She was amused at the contrast between me and my girly-girl, fashion-ista daughter.
Me at work - 2014
Here’s a photo of us at work.  My daughter worked for us for three weeks while between jNic at YITSobs.  Here she is with her nail kit, filing her nails at reception!  It was so cliche, but she didn’t care.
While waiting for the stylist I thought about dreams where you are unclothed, or not dressed right.  Have you ever had dreams where you are walking in a public place naked or in pyjamas?  I’ve heard it’s quite common.

It makes me think about Adam and Eve, and their wardrobe malfunction.  Imagine it.  Here’s God walking through the garden, and they’re naked.  Eeek.  The serpent took everything, even the clothes.

chinese character for naked

The Chinese character for naked. Notice the word ‘fruit’ in the character.

Do you think the story is a myth?
Here’s some anthropological proof that the story is based on fact.  Did you know the ancient Chinese script contains the story of Genesis, long before the Bible came to be written?  Here we see the ancient character for fruit.  How on earth did the ancient Chinese associate the word ‘naked’ with fruit?
Here’s a link to a site that shows how the Chinese characters tie in with Genesis:
The Chinese character for LIGHT has MAN in it.  I wonder if Adam and Eve’s garments were garments of light.I know the Lord has a garment of light.  Psalm 104 speaks of his garment, and dimensions.  It is written that the LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.  Psalm 104:2.
Jesus let three of the disciples see him clothed in light.
Here it is in Matthew 17:Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.”
Mount_Hermon

Mount Hermon dwarfs the remains of the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi (located at the bottom center of the photo).

I believe the mountain the Lord took them up was Mount Hermon.  The reason I think so is because in the previous chapter of the Bible, Matthew 16, Jesus was at Caesarea Philippi, a town at the foot of Mount Hermon.

Caesarea Philippi was the place where Jesus stamped his authority over the gates of Hell after Peter confessed Him as the Messiah.  I wrote about this in my blog post: True confessions at the Gates of Hell.

It’s interesting that the “Hermon Hotel”,  the highest permanently manned UN position in the world, sits on top of Mount Hermon in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel.

In the Book of Enoch, Mount Hermon is the place where the Watcher class of fallen angels descended to Earth. They swore upon the mountain that they would take wives among the daughters of men (Enoch 6).

The mountain or summit, referred to as Saphon in Ugaritic texts, is the place where the palace of Baal is located in a myth about Attar. Source: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hermon.  Attar is also known as Ashtar and Ishtar; god of the Morning Star.

So here we have Jesus, the Light of the World, stamping his authority all over Attar, Ashtar or Ishtar as well.  It kind-of puts Jesus’s promise about the Morning Star being given to those who have not learned Satan’s so called deep secrets in a new light, don’t you think?  (Revelation 2:28, Church at Thyatira)

 

I believe Moses and Elijah may be the two witnesses of Revelation 11, but that’s the subject for another post.  I believe it because of what these two can do.  Elijah was able to bring down fire and cause the rain to stop for 3½ years; and Moses was able to turn water into blood and bring several other plagues upon Egypt. And guess what the two witnesses do?  They will also be able to bring down fire, stop the rain, and cause various plagues for 3½ years,  (Revelation 11:5,6).

Anyway, to get back to clothes – they’re clothed in sackcloth for their earthly mission.  Sackcloth represents debasement, mourning, and/or repentance.

Do you have any white clothes?  Jesus talked about being dressed in white when he wrote to the Church at Sardis in Revelation 3.  This Church has a reputation for being alive, but it’s sound asleep.  Jesus said if it doesn’t wake up, he’ll come upon it like a thief, and they will not know at what time he comes.
(This is not a time to be caught napping.  Jesus expects us to be dressed for work and have our lamps burning.  (Luke 12:35))
Yet he said there are some in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with him dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white.

How bright will the white be?

 Whiter than white

The Keys of the Kingdom – true confessions at the Gates of Hell

Key to the KingdomI found a key with ‘J’ on it in my sleeveless vest pocket.  I don’t remember acquiring it.  It must have been after I helped set up the sound equipment for my church, but I can’t find the owner of the key.  It’s funny because my initial is ‘J’ and I’d been reading in the Bible about the Keys of the Kingdom.

Where do these keys fit and what doors do they unlock?  What did Jesus mean when he said He would give the keys to Peter, the apostle who declared he was the Messiah?  The promise of authority came with a question; Who do you say I AM?”  Jesus asked.  Simon Peter answered “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16).

Upon this rockAs servants, binding and loosing depends on the master’s will; as Jesus taught us to ask “Your Kingdom come, your will be done.”

Jesus still lends His authority to His true ministers today to do the same work. Sadly, many falsely claim this authority and misuse it.

The Roman Catholic Church maintains that the Keys of the Kingdom were handed to the Popes through Peter.  The keys are on the Vatican coat of arms.  That’s easily refuted.  The early church began in Jerusalem, not Rome.  It never had a Pope – from the early 3rd century the title was a general term used to refer to all bishops.  The title “Pontiff” belonged to Rome and the old roman gods.

This argument is made for one purpose: to give credibility to the idea that Peter was the first Pope in Rome.

Let’s give the scripture some context – the who, what, where and why;

Who was Jesus asking about before he spoke of the rock? 
Himself.
Jesus asked “Who do you say I AM?” and Peter answered “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God, ”

What did he say he would build on the rock?
His church.
Jesus said he would build His church upon that confession, and the Gates of Hell would not prevail against it.

Cesarea Philippi

The Gates of Hell at Caesarea Philippi. The niches in the wall held images of the gods Pan, Echo and Hermes.

Where was he when he said that? 
He was at the Gates of Hell.  They were in Caesarea Philippi, a city dominated by immoral activities and pagan worship.  There was a huge rock there, at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon, with a grotto dedicated to the Greek god Pan.  (Pan has horns and hairy legs like a goat).  The locals called it “the Gates of Hell.”

Why did he go there?
Jesus made His declaration at Caesarea Philippi to declare war on the gates of hell.  When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, he said; “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

He did not mean a sword like Mohammed’s.  The sword he spoke of is the Word of God.  In Isaiah 49:2 we read, “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword”.  When Jesus returns to our world leading the armies of Heaven the sword will be in His mouth. (Revelation 19:15)

The Confession; The Rock; The Church
I recommend the page on this site: http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-matthew-16-16-18.htm

The Confession

For the question Jesus asked; “Who am I?“, the confession is all important.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
In fact, we know that the person who refuses to acknowledge this truth is refusing to be saved! Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”  John 8:24.

I hope you have made this confession.  They are the most important words you will ever speak.

The Declaration

The declaration is “I will build my church on this rock.”  Jesus did not have the Vatican or any other powerful religious structure in mind when he made that statement.  He is the rock.  Peter is simply named after him.  Jesus is going to shake the world like he shook Hell.
The prophet Daniel had a vision of the end times, where he saw a rock not made by human hands knock the statue representing the final world empire off it’s feet.  The New World Order was broken to pieces and swept away without a trace, but the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.  Daniel 2:34-35
God said there is no other rock beside him.  He said it twice in Isaiah 44:8 and 45:5;
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?  No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

The Church

Ekklesia means “called out ones”, the Church.  It is a nation of priests, of servants, built for faith, called out of darkness, wrested away from the Gates of Hell.
We become part of the Ekklesia when we confess Christ as our Lord.  His Church is built on that confession.
We are fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  (Ephesians 2:20).
NicolaitansWe were not made to be cogs in the wheel of an authoritarian,  man-made power structure.
Jesus hates that.  He spoke against it twice in his letters to the seven churches;
“But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  Revelation 2:6, letter to the Church at Ephesus.
Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”  Revelation 2:15, letter to the Church at Pergamum.

Who are the Nicolaitans?  ‘Nico’ means rule and ‘laity‘ means clergy.  Get it now?

The devil wants to render us powerless, but consider this; “everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (1 John 5)
Jesus said “whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist.  And then He said, “The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”  Matthew 11:11-12.
They take it by force because they want to take the authority away from God.

Jesus delegates authority – just like He did with the twelve disciples, and He has given the Keys of the Kingdom to His Church, His called out ones.

The Servants’ Supper

Luke 12-37 lampBy the time I was born, the people on the English side of my family had been in New Zealand for generations.  I asked my Grandmother, who had been educated at a private school, where her ancestors came from.  “Oh, they had a big house in England” she replied.  I learned later on in life that her ancestors were servants from Ham House in Surrey.  Something got lost in translation!

ham-house

Ham House in Surrey

The seven servants of Ham arrived in NZ on May 18 1841 after five months in cramped conditions below decks on a ship called the William Bentinck.  Ann Howell, my Great-Great-Great Grandmother sat on the beach at the ends of the earth and cried, probably for a lot of reasons.  No longer would they be servants.

They did not know the New Zealand Company’s policies were designed to reproduce and export England’s capitalist class structure.  (I’m not saying capitalism is wrong – just the exploitative kind).

Ann could not read or write.  They had signed their marriage certificate with an X.  The schooling that the servants of Ham, and their children, received before emigrating was intended to impress upon them the importance of “knowing their place” in the British rural hierarchy.

Fortunately God got to New Zealand first.  The Christian Missionaries in New Zealand had encouraged a rapid uptake of literacy amongst Maori during the 1830’s, a decade before formal colonisation.  Early in 1842, the editor of Wellington’s Gazette contrasted Maori literate activities with that of recent labouring immigrants:  “They read with ease, and with far more rapidity than the poorer classes who have been taught at English charity schools.”

The British social class structure was challenged in the new environment where education was made available to everyone.  I grew up in a free country because of the foundation that Christianity had laid.

Sadly all the work done by previous generations over the last 200 years has been undermined by neo-liberal economic policies begun in NZ in the 1980’s and 1990’s, designed to benefit the top 10%.  It has affected our standard of living.  We now have a widening gap between rich and poor – because of our government’s foolishness.  Thieves in high places break in and steal.  As I write this, our arrogant government is subjecting us to the Trans Pacific Partnership – without telling New Zealanders what the details are.

“What can we do when the foundations are being destroyed?” Psalm 11:3

In these uncertain times, what should we do?  Jesus said ;  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6

While I am sad at seeing my country wrecked, I have been investing in a different Kingdom.  Investing in the Kingdom of God will be different for everyone.  For us, we were instructed by the Lord to go back to college, gain a Diploma of Business and enter self employment.  Since then we’ve been able to support ourselves and help various Kingdom initiatives with the company we’ve set up.  It hasn’t been easy but it has been worth it.  If you read my story that chapter is here: https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/chapter-78-the-seed/

One of our customers we have helped has set up a rice company in Papua New Guinea.  Another customer I help is an editor for a Christian Newspaper.  These are just some of the initiatives the Lord has bought our way.  And of course we have the example of the earlier work the Missionaries did in evangelising and educating the Maori.  God is at work and He invites us to join Him in that work.

The Master’s House

There is a bigger house than the one my ancestors came from.  What is “the house?”  I’ll start with what it is not.  The house is not the big mega-church with it’s rock star pastors who love to quote the scriptures about “bringing your tithes into the house”.  Run from them, they will only exploit you.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  By covetousness they will make merchandise of you with feigned words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”  2 Peter 2

A master who dresses Himself to serve.

The house the Lord speaks of is His Kingdom.  In His absence He has left us, His servants, in charge.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.”  Luke 12Luke 12-37

The master will return.  The signs of His coming are near.  Jesus is a servant leader.  For the servants He finds waiting for Him – He will dress himself to serve, have us sit at a table and He will come and wait on us.  Imagine that.  Actually, I can’t.  That’s out of this world.

The covenant

Abraham's promiseWhen God made Abraham gaze into the night sky, He had stars in his eyes. “He took him (Abraham) outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  Genesis 15

God made a land covenant with Abraham that starry night, promising Abraham a son.  Abraham and Sarah decided to give God a little ‘help’ with that promise, as Sarah was too old to have a child.  Abraham had a son named “Ishmael” through Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden.

Ishmael means ‘God hears’.  Abraham asked for his first born; Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”

 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” Genesis 17:17-21

When Sarah laughed, the Lord asked “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Genesis 18:14.  Isaac means ‘laughter’.

Ishmael became the father of the Arabs, and Isaac the father of the Jews.  There is emnity between them to this day.  Ishmael’s descendants founded the religion of Islam, and they believe they are the rightful owners of the land of Israel.

I believe that God has not forgotten about Israel.  It states it quite clearly in Romans 11;
1 “Did God reject his people? By no means!
2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble as to fall beyond recovery?  Not at all!

The Church does not supplant Israel or take her promises.  Romans 11:28 makes it clear that Israel has a separate covenant with God, which still stands.  I love the Jewish people.  How could I not?  Jesus was a Jew.  The church was born in Jerusalem.  In Romans 11:17 it says that Israel is the olive tree, and the ingrafted branch of the Church is nourished from the root of that olive tree.God's Kingdom

 In the New Testament the Apostle Paul explains how Sarah, the mother of Isaac, and Hagar the mother of Ishmael represent two covenants; 

There is the covenant of the law.  God gave us the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai.  Its been a law that none of us can keep. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The new covenant is provided by Jesus who could keep the law.  He has been the only man born without sin, and He fulfilled the law to save us.

“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.  His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.  Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.  But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.”  Galalations 4.

Even though Abraham is the father of the Arabs and Jews, and spiritual father of the Christians – we don’t all get along.  How can two walk together unless they are agreed?  I was friends with an Arab man, a Moslem from Iraq.  He wanted more than a friendship, but that I could not give him.  I belong to a different covenant, and I will not bow to Allah.  I encouraged him to return to his wife who had left him (by the way, it had nothing to do with me).  We have remained friends.  In the Kingdom story, his name is Ishmael.  I wondered why had I attracted Ishmael?  Why had my life been a desert?

God wanted me to trust Him.  He told me I was the one who chose the desert, and that is why Ishmael appeared.  I was trusting in myself, rather than God’s promises.

Ishmael always appears first.  Like Abraham, we are told to get rid of the son by the slavewoman, because he doesn’t share in the inheritance God has under the new covenant.

 “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”  Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.”  Galations 4:30.

This does not mean that God has forgotten the children of Ishmael.  Jesus has been appearing to many Moslems in dreams.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jhtxqpAQQE

They can and do come to Jesus, and when they make Him Lord they also come under the new covenant.  I believe God had that in mind when He saved Hagar and Ishmael from the desert.  The sons of Ishmael have this in common with the sons of Isaac;   they both have difficulty understanding the new covenant, which began in Jerusalem on the night of Passover;LastSupper2 resized

At the last supper, Jesus took the cup saying  “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 

I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Matthew 26:28-29

The new covenant is available for all who believe and accept Jesus.  Will you believe and drink from the cup the King has provided?  Think about it this Easter.

 

Holy smoke, St Patrick and the fire he lit

St Patrick and shamrockcloverWhen I think of St Patrick’s day, I think of green beer, leprechauns and shamrocks.  Everything Irish. 

It’s celebrated somewhat in NZ, but for me I’d have to go back five generations to find only one Irish ancestor, so it’s hardly worth observing.  I don’t even give it a nod by wearing green.  How about you?  Do you celebrate it where you are?

I can see how the shamrock came about.  Saint Patrick, a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century, explained the Trinity using a clover leaf.  I thought it was a clever idea.  Its the kind of thing Jesus would do.

The word Trinity means the triune nature of God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is love.  The bond of love between the three is so strong they are like one being.  The word Trinity is not found in the Bible, but I can demonstrate the Trinity to you using these two passages from the Bible;

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:17

Here’s the Trinity in a blessing;

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  2 Corinthians 13:14

So I hope you can see the Trinity from those verses.

Now here is something I didn’t know about St Patrick;
St Patrick Paschal fireOn Easter eve of March 26, 433,  Patrick lit a fire on a hill in defiance of a King who had ordered all household fires be extinguished in preparation for a pagan festival of light.  The Paschal fire Patrick lit was a real bonfire which blazed out the message that Jesus Christ is still the Light of the world.

It could be seen across to the next hill, the hill of Tara where the king and his followers were preparing for their pagan festival.  It was fortunate that the pagan king did not kill him for his defiance, but Patrick’s courage and faith won the day. From that time on, the influence of St. Patrick increased until the whole of Ireland had heard the message of Easter: that Christ is the Light of the World and that everyone can be saved through Jesus Christ.

Hill of SlaneWhat I like about St Patrick’s day, besides Patrick’s clever use of the Shamrock is an Irish folk song called “Slane” – for the hill where St. Patrick lit his holy fire.   My favourate hymn “Be thou my vision” uses the music from Slane.  It’s an old Old Irish hymn originally sung by 6th century monks.  The English version is still sung to the tune in which it was sung originally.  The song reminds me of the Kingdom of God – with the King, the word, the armour and the battle we fight.  May we be as brave and bold and defiant as St Patrick.

Here are the words;

Be thou my visionBe thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.
Be all else but naught to me, save that thou art.
Be thou my best thought, in the day and the night.
Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word.
Be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord.
Be thou my great Father, and I thy true son.
Be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight.
Be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might.
Be thou my soul’s shelter, be thou my strong tower.
O raise thou me heavenward, great power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise.
Be thou my inheritance, now and always.
Be thou and thou only, the first in my heart.
O sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, thou heaven’s bright sun.
O grant me its joys after victory is won.
Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall.
Still be thou my vision, O ruler of all.

St Patrick Slane Hill

A statue of St Patrick keeps watch over the surrounding land from Slane Hill which towers 521 feet above the surrounding Irish countryside.  It’s quite a view.  To the east are the mounds of Newgrange and Knowth, and the Irish sea beyond.  To the north can be seen Slieve Guillion, a mountain in Northern Ireland, to the south is the Sugarloaf Mountain in Wicklow, and to the west are the midlands of Ireland.

Here’s a clip of the song “Be thou my vision”.