Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (28) - Exile

When the empires took people from Israel into captivity, they bought prophets into their midst and gave them authority, which strengthened the power of the prophetic voice. Daniel was a prophet who ended up with immense authority within the empires that God planned to destroy. Protective judgments and the prophets continued to constrain political evil on earth.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (27) - Solomon

Solomon made the same mistake as David when he chose several foreign wives. They brought hundreds of evil spirits back into Israel. Once this happened, the kingship was doomed. The kings led their people on various militaristic adventures that ended with the being dominated by their powerful neighbours.
God authority on earth was undermined.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (26) - David

The kingship was a failure right from the start. David was the best person to be king. He had a man with a good heart and he had a great relationship with God as can be seen from the Psalms, yet he fell into adultery and then committed murder to cover it up. Worse still, he failed totally in providing justice. His own son was able to generate a revolt by providing justice for people who had been disappointed by the King (1 Sam 15:1-8).

David did finish the job that Joshua had begun. He drove out the last of the Canaanites. This was far too late, because they had already corrupted the Israelites. However, David allowed many of the Canaanites to remain as forced labour, so the evil spirits stayed too, and quickly jumped over to the people in control.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Normal is Gone

The reason that the recent Christchurch earthquake was such a shock was that, because the last two months had been quiet, people were hoping that the aftershocks were finished. They now realise that the quakes are not over and are bracing themselves to deal with further aftershocks. The cry from their hearts is “When will things return to normal”?

This desire will be disappointed, because we are not going to return to the old normal. The world has changed. When God is squeezed out of nation or city that has experienced his blessing, and his people do not share the gospel with sufficient power or passion to swing the people back, things will go on as normal for a while, but eventually the new reality will bite. Trouble and misfortune will become normal.

The Western world has experienced fifty years of blessing. Peace and prosperity have been normal, but the good times are over. The world is now entering a season of distress. During this season, trouble and distress will be normal.

Christians who understand the seasons should be using the current time as a season of preparation. We should be getting ready for the days ahead by learning to share and support each other. We should be learning what it means to love one another, as Jesus has loved us.
When the Time of Distress arrives, many Christians will look back and see the current time as a wasted opportunity. This time when wealth and freedom are abundant is the perfect time for developing new and better ways of living. It will be much harder to learn, when the time of distress comes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (25) - Kingship

Samuel knew that God wanted to be King of Israel, so he was reluctant to give Israel a King when the people demanded it (1 Sam 8). They wanted to be like the surrounding the nations with a human king, but God that a human king would reject his authority and squeeze him out of Israel. Temporary military commanders were a much safer option. The Kingship did not advance God’s strategy on earth.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (24) - Hannah and Samuel

Hannah had a really important role in bringing God back to earth. At first she cried out for a son, but without success. Eventually, she switched to praying for a son who would be under the authority of God. Hannah took her commitment seriously, and when her son Samuel was weaned she took him to live at the temple, so he could learn to serve under the authority of God. Her prayer was a prophetic declaration of God’s victory on earth (1 Sam 2).

When God spoke to Samuel, he said, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10). This set him on the path to a ministry as a prophet.

The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground (1 Sam 3:19).
Samuel was the first big-time prophet since the time of Moses. He was followed by a succession of powerful prophets. I presume that each prophet prayed for the raising up of his successor. Hannah’s dedications and prayer opened the way for this long sequence of powerful prophets, who would release God to work on earth.

Christmas Risk

Behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”(Matt 2:1-2).
God took a huge risk in sending Jesus into the world as a baby, at a time when his authority on earth was still precarious. He was counting on various people being willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and do God’s will.
  • Mary had to be willing to care for a baby. This was a huge burden for a young women.

  • Joseph had to listen to his dreams and be willing to obey them. He had to be willing to flee to Egypt for safety, which was scary for a Jewish family.

  • Anna and Simeon had to be ready to pray and prophesy as required.

  • The wise men would have to come and provide the Mary and Joseph with economic security. They did not give Jesus toys for his play. They provided his parents with commodities that could be sold in any economy at any time. They understood that precious commodities are essential for survival in troubled times.

If any of these people had failed to fulfil their calling, God’s plan would have turned to custard. The devil could have come in and killed Jesus, and removed the son of God from the earth. The wise men nearly set the cat among the pigeons when they went to Herod to find the king, instead of following star to Bethelem.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A King for Christmas

The angel's message to Mary was interesting. He said nothing about salvation as we think of it.

But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end" (Luke 1:30-33).
The angel did not talk about Jesus dying on the cross. He talked about him reigning as a king, in a kingdom that will never end. We got a King for Christmas. Unfortunately, most of us did not want a King, even those who take his name. We like to keep him in the manger where he is safe, and we are not challenged.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jesus is King

I like this sentence by Matt Ritchie at Theoprudence.

For the New Testament writers, the gospel was the enunciation that God has placed Jesus in authority over our world, and that God’s grand project of setting the world to rights has now begun.
This is the heart of the gospel, but it misses two important points. God did not have authority to place Jesus in authority over the world. He had given authority on earth to humans, but they had rebelled and kicked him out of the world. Because God keeps his word, he could not just intervene and give authority over the earth to Jesus.

During the first few thousand years of human history, God was working to gain a foothold on earth and establish his authority in Israel in preparation for the time when he would send Jesus to earth. I am currently describing the story of how God worked his way back into the world in a series of posts called God’s OT Strategy. God’s project to put the world to rights began many thousands of years before Jesus was born.

The second problem with the statement by Matt Ritchie is that God was not immediately able to give Jesus authority over our world. The devil and the forces of evil had gained authority over the world when humans sinned. Jesus death on the cross destroyed the penalty of sin and sets those who believe in Jesus free from the powers of evil. When this happens, authority on earth goes back to the humans who are set free, not to Jesus. Authority only gets to Jesus, when those who believe in him to surrender to his will. When Christians obey Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus becomes King and God’s plan to clean up the mess in the world really gets underway.

God's Plans Stand

When I was praying last night, I made the following declaration.

The enemy can and rant and rave,
and shake and shudder,
but he cannot prevent God from accomplishing his purposes for this city.

God will establish his Kingdom in Christchurch,
And the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
The Lord has planned it,
so it will be.
He has purposed it,
who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out,
Who can turn it back?


The roses in our garden have been nice this year.

More Earthquake

We have just been for a walk round our neighbourhood. The liquefaction is quite bad in places. The earthmoving machinery has moved much of it. Great that these men are willing to work on the Christmas Eve Saturday.

There does not seem to be much additional damage to the structures of the houses.

Thief of Peace

The insurance companies call it an act of God, but they are wrong.
Jesus was born as the prince of peace.

The thief comes to steal and destroy.
The master thief has timed the earthquake perfectly to rob Christchurch people of their peace this Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Christchurch Earthquake

We have had several nasty earthquakes today. The first struck just out to sea at 1.58pm and was magnitude 5.8 quake. A larger magnitude 6 quake struck at 3.18pm. It was centered on New Brighton just a few kilometers from here, so we were really rocked around. There have been smaller aftershocks throughout the afternoon and evening.

A large cupboard fell over in our garage. A scotch chest in our bed room fell over. Other stuff fell off the shelves, but nothing much seems to have broken.

This is our driveway. The earthquake forced water up through the asphalt. Fortunately, it did not bring silt with it.
There was quite bad liquefaction in the street. You can see where water burst up out from under the ground, bringing silt with it. The force of the water is so strong that it breaks the asphalt.

We only had a little bit of liquefaction in our back yard, but nothing serious.

I finished work yesterday, so was at home when the quake struck. We did not lose electricity or water, so we are quite comfortable.

No one was seriously injured in the city. The CBD is mostly closed to the public, while buildings damaged in previous earthquakes are demolished. I presume that the demolition crews would have stopped work for the Christmas break. Many other businesses had closed about lunch time, so people were heading home from work when the quake struck.

The suburban shopping malls were full of people, but the buildings stood up the shaking well.

People are feeling really stressed and fearful. Things had been quiet for the last two months and we had hoped that the aftershocks were over, but now the cycle will start over again. I expect we will have aftershocks for the next few months.

Gods OT Strategy (23) - Prophets and Empires

God planted Israel in the playground of empires in the middle of the world to provide himself with a prophetic voice to announce protective judgments against emerging evil in the surrounding empires and nations. The strategic position of Israel in the Middle East meant that any emerging empire would eventually pass through it on the way to do battle with its enemies. The rampaging of the empires gave the prophets of Israel authority to speak God’s protective judgments against them. God was able to use this authority to work out his purposes in many nations.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (22) - Judges

During the period of the Judges the people frequently did evil in the sight of the Lord. This shows that the laws and judges cannot being peace, if the people continue to ignore God.

God lost ground on earth during this time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (21) - Joshua

God commanded Israel to drive the people of Canaan out of the land and destroy their idols and temples (Deut 7:1). If Israel had obeyed God, the Canaanites would have carried all their evil spirits out of the land with them. If they had destroyed the shrines and idols, the evil spirits working in them would have fled to the people who had created them. God’s plan was to bring an evil-spirit-free people into an evil-spirit-free land. Unfortunately, Joshua disobeyed God and killed many of the Canaanites instead of driving them out. When the Israelites killed the Canaanites, they the evil spirits move to the people doing the slaying, as their fear and anger made them vulnerable. Contrary to God’s plan, the Israelites allowed a host of evil spirits to remain in the land.

This was an immediate setback to God's plan to re-gain more authority on earth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (20) - Moses

Moses was a prophet. God gave the law through Moses to restrain personal and social evil by preventing violence and theft. God intended that other nations would copy Israel and get a similar reduction in personal and social evil by applying God’s law. The law should have constrained personal evil in Israel and throughout the world. Unfortunately, Israel chose to copy the nations and have a king, so they never demonstrated the benefits of God’s law to the nations.

Moses also released the ministry of the judge. These judges recognised for wisdom by their families and tribes applied God’s law to social and community disputes. They functioned within their local communities. This was an important step in God’s strategy, because it provided a way for larger communities to live in peace with each other. The law could not eliminate sins, but it provided a way for removing the worst effects of sin.

The Jubilee laws proved a tool for ensuring that the income distribution was fair. Concentration of wealth was prevented.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (19) - Priesthood

Aaron was the first priest. He dealt with sin by offering sacrifices. This was not a permanent solution to sin, as only Jesus could do that, but it did free the people from the burden of sin, which protected them from demonic attack. The tabernacle sacrifices were the first form of spiritual protection, because it reduced their vulnerability to evil spirit. A person had made a sacrifice for their sins, reduced their vulnerability to demonic attacks. Unfortunately, it did not do enough to allow them to be come temples of the Holy Spirit.

The tabernacle was God’s first dwelling place on earth. This gave him a place that belonged to him alone. Moses and Aaron had given him permission to be there. Nothing evil was allowed in. This gave God his first small zone of control on earth. He hoped the people would see his glory and allow him to expand this zone of control out into all the land of Canaan.

The Levites were given responsibility for teaching the people about God and how to live under the law. This was God’s first mass education program on earth.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (18) - Moses Covenant

The covenant God made with Moses on Mt Sinai marked a big change in authority on earth. God had rescued the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt and brought them into a new land. He promised to protect them and bless them in the future. In return for these blessings, they agreed to submit to God’s authority. This was a big change. Under the covenant with Adam and Eve, humans had absolute authority on earth. They could boot God out of the world if they chose. The covenant with Moses offered similar blessings, but human authority was significantly constrained. The terms of the covenant with Moses meant that he Israelites could no longer reject God’s authority and push him out of the world. The covenant provided that if they rebelled against God, they could be ejected from the land, not God.

God had worked away for more than 2000 years to get a foothold of authority on earth. He now had a piece of land where he was free to operate and a people to work through. This was not perfect. God could not be certain that his people would obey him. He knew they would eventually rebel. He also knew that if he exiled the chosen people from the land, he could lose control of it. Other people would move in who did not have a covenant with him. They could exclude him again, if he were not careful. God had to be sure that he had a way to bring his people back from exile at the right time. Cyrus was critical for that reason. Daniel was important too, because he had sufficient authority in Babylon to pray the return to the land into being. Nehemiah had a key role too. God had to raise the right people up and make sure that they are there at the right time.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (17) - Exodus Rescue

The Exodus was the first big rescue executed by God. The Israelite slaves were all descendants of Abraham, so they knew about God, even if they did not always obey him. They cried out to him for deliverance, which gave him authority to act on their behalf. I presume God let Joseph and Jacob go to Egypt, so this would happen. The people of Canaan had filled up their sins, so God had authority under the rainbow covenant to remove them from the land.

Establishing the children of Israel in the land of Canaan was a really important step forward in God‘s plan. For the first time in history, God had authority over a piece of the earth on which he was free to operate. Humans could not take it off him. He also had a people he could sometimes count on to release his power on earth. With some land and a people, he could now start some serious work on earth. His goal was to expand from Canaan into the rest of the earth.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (16) - Slavery in Egypt

22. Joseph and his family were sent in to the empire of Egypt. This was a sneaky move by God. When Satan saw Abraham’s faith, he knew that God was up to something, so he wanted to nip it in the bud. He carried Jacob and his family into Egypt, so he could keep them under control and stamp them out if they got out of hand. God allowed this to happen, because he knew the people of Israel would eventually cry out to him when they became slave and give him authority to rescue them. This authority gave freedom set his plan of redemption in place.

The bonus was that that Moses learned the wisdom of Egypt and the children of Israel gained access to the latest agricultural and communications technology. Moses knew how to read and write, yet he was not corrupted by it (Acts 7:22).

The other reason that God sent the children of Israel into slavery was to cleanse them from evil. Evil spirits are not interested in slaves, because they have no power. They always move towards the masters and rulers to gain more power. When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they were evil spirit free, because most of the evil spirits would have stayed with the Egyptians.

This could be why Moses had to spend forty years in the wilderness. Living in the household of Pharaoh, he would have picked up some of the spirits that dwelt in that house (one was a spirit of anger). When Moses fled to the wilderness for forty years, these spirits would have got of sick of watching sheep and wandered off to find someone more important to influence.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (15) - Abraham

Abraham was the first person who lived by faith. He believed the promise and obeyed Gods call to move to Palestine which would become the centre of the playground of empires (Gen 12:1). This was an important step in God's strategy, because it gave him a place from which to challenge empires.

Abraham was the first military commander. The resources of his family were sufficient that he could defend his family from attack (Gen 14:15-16). Abraham and his family could serve God without being overcome by the evil forces around them. For the first time in the history of the world, God had a group of people on earth that he could work through. This was a major step i God strategy.

Abraham was a prophet (Deut 34:10). The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a protective judgment. Abraham was the prophet who released God to achieve this result. It prevented a malicious evil from emerging in this important region.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (14) - Empire

After the flood and the destruction of Babel, the forces of evil changed their way of working. Before the flood, their number were sufficient to attack every person on earth. The flood reduced their numbers, which limited the effectiveness of the old strategy. To leverage their power, they began working through political empires. Hierarchies of power expand the influence and power of evil. The forces of evil could concentrate their activities and control on the emperor and the empire would control the rest of the people on earth. By operating as principalities and powers controlling empires, the demonic powers could get more bang for their buck.

Many empires emerged. The first was Egypt. It was followed by Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and the ultimate empire Rome.

God's strategy would eventually have to deal with empires and bring them down.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (13) - Babel

The Tower of Babel was a terrible threat to the purposes of God. We read about some crazy people building a huge tower and think they were stupid, but something more serious was going on (Gen 11:4). Some people on earth had got together with the spiritual forces of evil in an attempt to wrest control of the heavenly realms from God. A gang of evil spirits that had been thrown down on earth, planned to use evil people on earth to regain their position in heaven. This was serious stuff. God sent a Protective Judgment to put the forces of evil back in their place. The evil was constrained by sending confusion of language, that made combining for a common purpose more difficult.

It seems that no prophet existed to give God permission, but conditions were so bad, that the permission of the Rainbow covenant applied.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (12) - Rainbow Covenant

The Rainbow Covenant was a promise to prevent evil from getting too strong. This covenant was the first crack in the wall of the defence that the powers of evil had placed round the world. They had shut God out of his creation, and stuffed it up. Noah opened the door a chink, and let God back in.

God used Noah to make put in place another important tool for dealing with evil. The covenant that God made with Noah allows him to bring protective judgments on earth, during times of serious evil, without getting permission from a prophet. This allows God to act against evil in a season when there are no prophets.

This rainbow covenant is different from other covenants, because it was not exclusive, but applies to all people and animals on the earth.

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth (Gen 9:16).
The rainbow reminds us of covenant with all people forever. The rainbow covenant is unconditional. No conditions are specified for fulfilling the covenant. No consequences were specified for failure to keep the covenant. The covenant with Noah is and unconditional promise to all the people of the earth through all time.

The common understanding is that God was promising not to destroy the earth by another flood. This does not seem very likely anyway, so this view makes the covenant seem irrelevant. We do not see a rainbow and think, “Wow, I am glad that God is keeping his covenant”. Christians assume we have a better covenant and do not need this old one, but we have missed the significance of God’s promise. God was not promising there would never be another flood. He was actually promising that he would not need to send another flood, because he would never let conditions get so bad on earth that it needed to be destroyed. God promised to prevent evil from getting so strong that it has potential to destroy the entire earth.

God was able to make this promise, because the covenant with Noah increased God’s authority on earth. God had given authority over the earth to man, so he could not intervene on earth without getting permission. The Rainbow Covenant God gave him permission to intervene on earth when evil was getting out of hand. This covenant was a serious crack in the wall of the defence that the powers of evil had placed round the world. They had shut God out of his creation, and stuffed it up. Noah opened the door a chink, and let God back in.

Noah was the father of all who would live on earth after him, so his covenant binds everyone on earth. Speaking on behalf of his descendants, Noah gave God permission to intervene when evil is rampant. The Covenant of the Rainbow gave God long-term permission to act on earth, if things got really bad. This was not much of a constraint on human authority on earth, because it does not apply most of the time, but it give a God authority to act on earth, if becomes strong and destructive. This permission still applies several thousand years later.

This was a long-term permission, because Noah agreed and gave God permission on behalf of his descendants. God still has permission to intervene in the world when evil gets out of hand. This is the promise of the rainbow. It was not much of a constraint on human authority on earth, because it did not apply most of the time, but it gave God authority to act on earth, when things got really bad.

The rainbow covenant was a huge step in the battle against evil. Until the time of Noah, God was shut out of the world and could do nothing to prevent evil from destroying the world. The rainbow covenant did not give God a free hand on earth. Most of the time, it does not apply, because the situation is not bad enough. However, it does give God permission to intervene on earth when evil gets really bad. This is a great improvement over the situation that existed before the Flood.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (11) - Flood

The Flood was the first judgement that God was able to bring against the evil that had become rampant on earth. God was able to send this judgment because Enoch and Noah had prophesied to release his power. This was the first big push-back against evil.

The Flood was a huge victory over evil. Evil spirits do not seem to be very mobile, and when their hosts were drown, millions seemed to get trapped in one place. They were probably hiding together in a dark place. God sent his hosts of angels and they were able to lock them up and take them out of action on earth. We do not know how he achieved this, but the results are confirmed in the New Testament. God shut them away where they could do no harm on earth (1 Peter 3:19; 2 Pet 2:4-5). This dramatically reduced the number of evil spirits working on earth.

The capture and shutting up of a huge number of evil spirits was a huge advance for God strategic plan. It tilted the playing field against evil for the first time.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (10) - Noah

Noah was born just a few years after Enoch had prophesied. He was the first step in the fulfilment of Enoch’s prophecy. Enoch’s grandson Lamech was Noah’s father. He carried on the influence of Enoch and prophesied at Noah’s birth.

He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed” (Gen 5:29).
This prophecy seems trivial, but it released Noah into a prophetic ministry. It set Noah on track to fulfil the role that God had for him.

By the time of Noah was an adult, the situation on earth had become abysmal.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways (Gen 6:11-12).
The Hebrew word translated “corrupt” is “shachath”. This word is used through the record of Noah’s covenant. It means “destroy” or “ruin”. God looked upon the earth and saw that it was being ruined by the evil in human hearts.

Noah was also a prophet. Peter called him a preacher of righteousness, which is the same thing (2 Pet 2:5). His actions to build a boat were a prophecy of the flood, even when he did not speak. He had a family to protect him. Because he was building a crazy boat miles from the water, people did not harm him.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (9) - Enoch

The first sign of life in the Old Testament Age was Enoch. Towards the end of his life, he began to walk with God, but it seems that the situation of earth was so terrible, that a man walking with God was not safe. God had to take him out, because he was not safe on earth.

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him (Gen 5:24).
Before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God (Heb 11:5).
Enoch did something pivotal before he left the earth.
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones (Jude 1:14).
Enoch was the first person in the scriptures to be called a prophet. He was speaking about the people living on earth during his time and warning that God would send thousands and thousands of angels to bring judgment against them. This prophecy was a pivotal, because God was given authority to intervene on earth for the first time in a very long time. Nearly a thousand years had gone by since Adam and Eve rebelled, shutting God out of the world.

This spiritual powers of evil did not want God getting involved on earth, so they would have been really annoyed by this prophecy. They would have attacked Enoch with a vengeance, because he was the first person in a thousand years who had betrayed their cause and turned to God. This is why God had to take him out for his own protection.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (8)

For the first few thousand years, earth was controlled by evil. Evil spirits had a free hand. Everyone ignored or hated God, so he received no invitations to act on earth. With no one praying, the Holy Spirit was entirely shut out of the earth. Under these conditions, evil advanced in a terrible way. All human developments were twisted for evil purposes.

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).
Many Christians are expecting a time of great evil on earth in the future. They do not realise that this has already occurred, and that God is not going to let things go backwards. He has a strategy that is moving towards a goal: the restoration of all things.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (7)

The first thousand years of history were a terrible time. This barren period of history described in Genesis 5 begins with the final verse of the previous chapter.

At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD (Gen 4:26).
The English translations put a positive spin on these words, but that is a bit misleading. The word translated “began” is “chalal”. Begin is a secondary meaning. The primary meaning is “pierce” or “profane”. A more realistic translation of the verse follows:
Men called out the name of the Lord as a profanity.
The barren period gets underway when men begin to curse God.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (6)

When we look at Genesis 5 and see the genealogies and ages, we try to work out the age of the earth. This misses the point. The chapter is explaining what life was like on earth in the centuries after the fall. For nearly a thousand years, nothing of spiritual importance happened on earth. God was shut out of his creation, so he could not hold back the forces of evil. He had no choice but to leave the people of the earth to their own devices.

During this period, thousands of people died without any opportunity to hear the gospel or receive salvation. This was not God’s fault, although he is often blamed for it. Humans created the situation where these people were shut out from salvation.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (5)

The common view is that when Adam and Eve were sent out into the world, he expected them to do what they had failed to do in the Garden of Eden. That was not possible. They were still on the path leading away from God. Adam lived for nearly a thousand years, but there is no indication in the scriptures that he ever did anything to help God get a foothold back on earth. God continued to be shut out of the earth. He needed a strategy that would restore his influence on earth. That would take time to achieve.

God could not act on earth, unless a human person called out and asked for help. Eve had called on God when her Cain was born.

She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man (Gen 4:1).
We do not know how long she lived after Seth was born, but this was the last record of her praying to God. It seems that prayer stopped once Cain was born.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (4)

After God had sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, a cherubim with a fiery sword began to guard the tree of life.

He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:24).
We assume that God put a guard round the tree of life, but the translation of this verse is not certain. The word translated "flashing back and forth" is “haphak”. The primary meaning of this word is overturn or pervert. The message of this verse may be that “perverted” cherubim had seized control of the tree of life, because God no longer had authority on earth.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Gods OT Strategy (3)

God had given Adam and Eve dominion over the earth. That was a big call, because once dominion and authority is given, it cannot be taken back. God understood the risk. He said that if they rebelled, “they would be as gods” (Gen 2:5). They would not just have the power to decide good and evil. They would control a world that had previously been controlled by God.

When they Adam and Eve sinned, they handed authority over the earth to the spiritual forces of evil. God lost control of the world. The fall was a huge disaster, because it left God powerless on earth. He still had authority in the spiritual dimension, but his authority on earth was gone. This was painful. God had to continue sustaining the earth daily, but he could not get involved on the earth that he loved. It took all the wisdom and power of God to turn things around.

Most Christians have quite a small fall in their theology. I suppose it makes us feel better.

The impact of the fall was far greater than we often assume. The reality is that God was squeezed out of his universe and evil was let in. The powers of evil stuffed up everything in the entire universe.

A big fall needs a big salvation, which is exactly what God achieved through Jesus. However, he had a lot of patient work to do, before he could bring that to pass.