CHRIST-CENTERED MINISTRIES FOR
Jesus Christ, Immanuel, Messiah, Yeshua, . . . . All of these and much more are names the Bible gives to Jesus, born of Mary, sometime around 3 or 4 BC in the town of Bethlehem, Israel. If you are not familiar with the Bible, ask us for one, we send them out free of charge or click on the link for a free Bible. Look up the New Testament and then turn to the Gospel of Luke (chapters 1 & 2) and the Gospel of Matthew (chapters 1 & 2). After you get a chance to read these chapters, you will understand that this baby, born of a virgin, is not like any other the world has ever known. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. To know something more about Jesus and the God of the Bible, we really have to go to the book of Genesis. That's the very first book in the Bible, located in the Old Testament, in the very beginning of the book. It is here in Genesis we discover the God of the Bible made a very beautiful place for humans to dwell and designed the planet to be distinctly suited to sustain the living beings this God would create to live on this planet we call Earth.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1; If you do not have an awareness of Genesis 1-3, now might be a good point to read it from your favorite Bible translation.) Everything in the Bible is really best understood by its Hebrew language concepts as well as the similarly translated concepts from the Greek, as well as Aramaic languages Jesus spoke. In Genesis, as we see God creating, there are several concepts sometimes lost in English. One of the concepts from Genesis we see are patterns. For example, some of the words which become patterns within the concept of the creation process are: “Let There Be . . . and So There Was . . . and It was Good.” These are word phrases but they are like little exclamation points as well. One pattern explicitly seen and taught within this scene of creation is the fact God creates by His word. In the New Testament we are then told the Word is a person, The Lord Jesus Christ. The Hebrew for “word” is Davar and it means word but can carry a concept of a driving force who creates something out of nothing. Certainly this is spiritual which brings reality into our understanding. In fact, it can be said, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3).
Secondly, as God creates He makes what I will call a mutual exclusivity of separation. Instead of the idea of divide and conquer mankind has when separating, God does this to bless. For example, we see light separated from darkness, the waters above from the waters below, earth (land) separated from the waters. Ten times within Genesis 1 & 2, we see the Hebrew word play of “Let There Be” and “So There Was,” and it appears like a ta-da-ta-da! (exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point) Not only does it APPEAR and there is a little celebration, but we have the Hebrew “It Was Good.” With sort of like an exhale, carried along as an idea of being a blessing to God. Like an artist finishing a masterpiece. In fact, it is so much of a pattern that with each act of creation, what is created blesses the next created thing. All of this is like a cascading waterfall, flowing from the fact that it Blessed God So Much that it flows into a celebration! You might say, what’s the big deal of separating becoming a blessing? Well, I don’t know what it was like for God, but as humans, I am certainly blessed to be able to sleep at night in darkness and walk on dry land instead of travel by boat all the time. I certainly like working in the daylight. This pattern of mutual exclusivity continues after the fall of mankind as well.
Just like the pattern of mutual exclusivity, the pattern of mutual beneficence continues throughout the creating process and then throughout the whole of the Bible through both Testaments. We see an understanding of plants blessing the earth, and vice versa. The sea creatures would be blessed and be a blessing to the water. Animals would be blessed by the plants and earth; and the earth blessed by the animals as they ate. This follows down the line of creation, with each being celebrated as they are created. Inherent in this pattern of God creating and blessing something or calling it “good” is the fact that whatever God names He has sovereignty over. Because of His sovereignty there is peace and blessing; or said another way, there is no conflict with what He blesses. “Let There Be” and “So There Was” is found ten times in the language and this final understanding of “It Was Good” is seen seven times in the language. This numbering of 7 x 10 is a basic understanding of spiritual completion, with the number ten having symbolic meaning in earthly government. So being is not just ultimate, but it has a celebration because GOD did the creating. In fact, when asked by Moses what His name is God says, I AM That I AM. YAH or Yahveh, Yahweh, what we spell in English as Jehovah. We also see the Jewish understanding in The Name, or Ha Shem.
The Triune God, in an eternal context of functioning within an interdependent and mutually beneficial relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit creates as well as depending upon what He created to give Him enjoyment. In the New Testament in the book of John 1:1 (in Greek) it says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with (toward) God.” The Greek words, pros ton theos are usually translated as toward God, describing movement. Scholars have debated this language for centuries. I am not about to solve its dynamics here. Simply put, John is attempting to describe an environment where a whirlwind or driving force (the Word) is creating out of nothing. This Word, whom John tells us is Jesus, eternally with the Father before time, in time, creates within a mutually beneficial relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So the God the Bible describes is One True God, creating and functioning as one with three distinct persons described as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are told that Jesus is the Son. Sometimes this messes people up, but it really should not. You can click on a link where we explain this and some books which can help you understand this and the Bible better. But for now, let's get back to our reading of Genesis and the creation story. As God creates He does so to bless. I get the impression of a worship party in the heavens. We have to remember the prophets were trying to describe what God was showing them through the Spirit, and attempting to place it in words we can understand.
The last created being would be man. God says some very interesting things about humans and what their gifts from Him would entail. We also have a word phrase in Hebrew which says, “This is what became of. . .” The English translates this phrase as “These are the generations of. . .” The reason for this is the Hebrew comes from a verb meaning To Beget. So the Bible gives us little bullet marks in the story (“this is what became of”) to let us know what happened to what God created because “something” changed the creation from its original purpose. After God creates man, God breathes into him and man becomes a living soul. This is different from the other creatures He created. The first difference is seen because mankind is created in the image and likeness of God. This can best be described as eternality and something else: Mankind received a responsibility inherent in being a blessing. He is supposed to represent God to the earth and the earth to God. It is part of the command to subdue given him in Genesis 1:28. This idea of subduing is not in destroying or subjugation, as we humans think. The original idea is in being a blessing and imparting life, just like God did when He created everything in the beginning. Adam and Eve were to use and harness creation’s potential and resources for their benefit and to benefit others, including the creation. The guideline is not just inherent in the benefit, but in understanding the greater good of the whole creation. Because our subduing (after the fall of man) only involves blessing ourselves, we are selfish and very often harmful to the creation and other human beings. But this is not how God intended it in the beginning.
In the beginning man was given many gifts to bless the creation with. The first reality is seen when God makes Eve. Many people think the Bible keeps Eve as a second class citizen. Unfortunately, that is because most people do not read it in the Hebrew language. Eve was not created as a door mat, or as a being incapable of leadership. In the Hebrew we see an idea that God creates everything in the woman the man needs and God created everything in the man the woman needs. They would each supply whatever was lacking in the other’s design. This has to do with more than the physical realm. They would not be able to bless the earth or fulfill their destinies without the other. They would not be able to govern, procreate, function in blessing the planet, and so much more. These words used here to describe this relationship are not used for anyone else other than the male-female relationship in the whole of the Bible; EXCEPT in describing what God does for mankind. This is true intimacy, from a biblical perspective. As humans, we must understand the intimacy of this dynamic. It is not necessarily based on love, although love surrounds it. It is based on government fulfilling the sovereign call of God to bless, not harm. Adam and Eve were to govern in the same symbolism of interdependent unity they saw God function in. Is the Father less than Jesus? Is Jesus less than the Holy Spirit? The answer is “no” to both questions. So for those who feel the New Testament or the fall of man means Eve is something other than perfect after salvation, I would say you don’t understand the new creation God has made us to be (2 Corinthians 5:17).
There is one other gift God gives mankind. Man has the ability to speak God’s word and see similar effects on the earth as God made when He created in the beginning. So Adam and Eve were to speak to a situation, naming it and have dominion in a healthy setting to bring a fullness to the earth. In order to learn how to function with this gift, their first lesson was trust, showing that trust through obedience. God told them: “Do Not Eat. . .” In the New Testament when God tells us to confess our sins, in effect, naming them, it is not to beat us up. It is to show us our dominion over them. God wanted to teach Adam and Eve about their gift. He wanted to show them the appropriate way, within the special relationship each had to Father, God. In this way the planet could be blessed by mankind’s care.
The real devil— not some make-believe evil or bad tempered serpent— the real deceiver could not allow this newly created being to have dominion over him. The devil was quite jealous concerning God’s devotion to this new being. He was covetous over this being’s gifts as well. Having the image of God conveyed the authority of God through the use of sovereign activity for the planet. Coveting what was not his, the devil had to trick or otherwise steal what was given to Adam and Eve. So seduction, disobedience and rebellion ensued. When Eve took of the fruit, it caused a cascading of events recorded in the Hebrew like this: God was clear, in the day they eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “dying, you shall surely die.” This is an odd statement, for they did not physically die. You might ask, “What’s so bad about the knowledge of good and evil?” The words of the serpent might be telling here. He makes God out to be holding back on them; that they will be a “god” when they eat. The scary reality is they were already immortal. They were already a “god.” All they needed was to learn God’s total way of doing things in speaking and sovereignly governing the earth. They could also communicate with the creation in a way we cannot do now. Imagine swimming with a dolphin and asking, “So how’s the ocean doing today? What’s going on out there? How do you feel?” When we disobeyed we lost all those abilities. By partaking of the fruit they were telling God, “Your way is the wrong way and we know what we are doing better than you do.” While God allowed them this choice, the consequences were real. It affected the creation as well. The animals could no longer speak to us. We could no longer hear their voice. Weeds grew and a real life-giving quality in water was lost because the headwaters flowed through the area around the tree of life. The rivers flowed from these headwaters. Water is life-giving for us, but it had regenerative properties we don’t quite see now.
Before the fall, there was no need to kill an animal. It is only in our fallen state we do such. If Adam and Even had taken part in the tree of life, they would have lived forever in a corrupt state. Why? Within the Hebrew of the phrase “dying, you shall surely die,” we see an odd play on words. While they did not physically die that day, something spiritual in them did die. Just as things connected to mankind’s spirituality died. First, they were no longer immortal and secondly, their ability to speak and see change in the spiritual realm, affecting the physical world, would be forever polluted and unclean, actually impossible to access. Their spirit became dormant. They were no longer able to connect to it. Thus there was no need for that element to be left whole in the creation. God allowed this to cause the necessary separation. They would no longer be able to connect to Him in the same manner in which they had before. Their reproduction would be limited to physically bearing children only and their spiritual reproduction would be stopped. Similarly, water’s capability to sustain pre-fall life stopped and now it just sustains our lives as our bodies’ limit allow. Another result of the fall is seen in knowing the true source of evil and the true source of understanding (knowledge). While we have some knowledge, the understanding of its true source would be stopped. Having knowledge of good and evil is not enough. Having God knowledge would have accessed miracle working power, with servant-like effect for the planet. Adam and Eve would have learned how to be servants with the title of humble kings and priests. Now, that would all be lost, and the serpent knew it.
Many question why God would stop our immortality. They theorize eventually man would learn, over time. After all, an immortal learns and morphs into their understanding of things, so the theory goes. If we go back to the original creating ideas of blessing and separating as a blessing, we then understand why God cut off access to the tree of life. Imagine a Hitler, Genghis Khan, Stalin or Lenin or some other evil from millennia ago none of us have ever heard of, living forever. If you think they would change somehow over time and be softer, with their desire to control the world somehow subdued, think again. Immortality would have left them bolder, not softer. Millions more would have been killed. I doubt the planet could sustain that much evil never dying but just growing. If we think we have a problem with extinction events in the animal kingdom now, think of what an Alexander the Great or Nero living forever and desiring to be covered in animal skin would do. No, I firmly believe God had to cut off our immortality. He did it to bless the creation and mankind as well. Seeing our evil, and knowing what’s in the mind of man, He did us a favor, in the long run.
God did not leave us comfortless though. He sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem mankind. Virgins do not conceive— but this one did (Mary). Miracles are just a normal place when one functions with the God of the Bible. God makes no excuses for the miraculous. He does not apologize for them; He just gives them to us when we ask. So when we humble ourselves and ask Jesus to come and be our Lord and Savior, He does. Something outrageous takes place. Those of us who have experienced this know it is not something we made up in our minds. We are suddenly connected to the spiritual realm again. It truly is a born-again experience. As you can see from the account of the fall of man in Genesis, even though the devil stole Adam and Eve's authority and gifts, the devil has a spiritually legal right to them because Adam knew what he was doing in giving them away. That means in order to save us, God had to buy us back. He did so by sending His Son, His Only Son. Jesus willingly paid the price for our sin. Romans 10: 9 & 10 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." It is that simple. Believe God raised Jesus from the dead. Confess your sinfulness, ask Jesus to come into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. He will. If you want someone to pray with, contact us. If you need materials to get started in a new walk with God, just let us know. If you need a church to go to in your area, let us know what area you're looking in and we can give you a list of churches you can check out for yourself. Just remember: GOD LOVES YOU. JESUS DIED FOR YOU. YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO HIM.