114) No Pain No Gain

Remember why God created humans in the first place?

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion” (Genesis 1:26)

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?…set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet…But now we see not yet all things put under him.” (Hebrews 2:6-8)

Make the connection! The end of time / death is when the humans made in God’s likeness win back the dominion he granted to us! This is a massive responsibility.

Surely you’ve gone through the process of being vetted for a job. The more responsibility the job entails, the more qualifications are demanded. As a prescribing nurse practitioner, for me it takes at least three months between accepted for a job and being qualified for the position through review of 1) the primary sources of my university transcripts, 2) current national accreditation, 3) active state licensure, 4) active national prescriptive authority, 5) legal clearance from malpractice lawsuits, substance use or convictions for any offense, and last but not least, 6) recommendations from recent colleagues of competence and collegiality.

Surely we recognize that taking dominion over creation is far more serious than treating medical disorders.

Not everyone qualifies.

“there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him…Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples…Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you

  1. ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
  2. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Mark 10:17-30)

The content presumes an understanding of of the connection between

  1. sitting upon a throne and
  2. inheriting everlasting life.

This is where works comes into play.

Yes, individuals obtain eternal life for themselves as a free gift of God, but that’s just the basic package.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)

Keep reading.

Additional benefits are offered to those willing to pay the price to qualify for a position of responsibility in the kingdom, i.e. the government.

YHVH’s Savior Empowers Humans To Reclaim Their Own Dominion Through Battle

As he has done throughout history, YHVH’s Savior shares the kingdom, the power, and the glory with his brothers, the sons of God who stand in battle with him against the Adversary.

“Abel…Enoch…Noah…Abraham…Isaac…Jacob…Joseph…Moses…the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens…and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented…wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise…that they without US should not be made perfect…“(Hebrews 11)

And “us” are the people previously known as Gentiles.

“remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Mashiach Yeshua ye are… fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household / chosen servants of God;” (Ephesian 2:9-19)

We lose our identity as Gentiles / Not the People of God when we identify with Yeshua haMeshiach King of Israel.

“Now he which stablisheth us [Israelites] with you [former Gentiles] in The Anointed One/ Messiah / Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;” (II Corinthians 1:21)

I put it to you that Christianity’s hyper focus on Jesus is a cheap escape from personal responsibility. Severing Christianity from Judaism allows – not just Dispensationalists, not just Catholics, but also Protestants with Martin Luther’s doctrine of grace – to toss out the clear scriptural demands to identify with haMashiach by becoming hamashiach – a holy, righteous servant of God.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth,” (Isaiah 42:1-10)

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” (Matthew 12:14-21)

This is not just a prophecy about Jesus Christ. As the Ethiopian eunuch astutely pointed out, it also applies to those who are chosen to take on his name / attributes / power through baptism / immersion into his identity.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you...Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake / namesake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin…But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; And ye also shall bear witness…he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (John 15:16-27, 16:8)

For we are…created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Yeah. That goes back to the beginning as well.

“And God…said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time…without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now… fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of Godfellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel..I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry…followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 2:11-5)

As always, our understanding must be grounded in preceding scripture. Father Abraham is a prime example of the precept that “being a son” is a different ball game from “inheriting.” We can validate the Lord’s promise of future benefits to us by his past performance to Abraham.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, [Abram forsakes houses and lands] unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing...and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed [inheritance]…And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth [followed the LORD’s instructions] to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came…And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land” (Genesis 12:1-7)

At this point in time, Lot is Abram’s seed / heir. The proof of this is that Abram splits his land inheritance with him.

“And Abram was very rich in cattle…And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together…And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle...And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left…Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Genesis 13)

But the LORD disinherits Lot when Lot separates from Abraham. Lot’s choices led to inevitable results. He was saved, but he is the certainly the poster child for “but so as by fire.” He lost any godly inheritance.

“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For ALL the land which thou seest, to THEE will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. AND I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” (Genesis 13)

“God…turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (II Peter 2:4-8)

“And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt…And Lot went up…and dwelt in the mountain…in a cave, he and his two daughters…And they made their father drink wine…and lie with him…Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.” (Genesis 19)

Likewise, although Abraham loved Ishmael his firstborn son and wanted him to be his heir, the LORD didn’t allow it. Nonetheless, Ishmael was blessed and his descendants count Abraham as their ancestor.

Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac.” (Genesis 17:18-21)

Out of Jacob’s twelve sons, only Judah inherited the privilege of bearing rule over all the tribes, and out of the tribe of Judah only the house of David held the top positions in government.

Being a ruler in the kingdom of God demands much more effort than being a simple citizen.

“if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity…Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless…they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree…Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (I Timothy 3:1-13, 4:1-2)

It makes complete sense that the Lord is going to hold the leadership responsible for doing their jobs before he attacks the underlings who were neglected, exploited, lied to, and abused.

“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the LORD God of hosts.” (Isaiah 3:12-15)

Paul is a good example of an exemplary leader.

“being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:” (I Thessalonians 2:8-10)

Justice against wicked rulers is just one aspect of judgment, however. Discipline and training is essential to part of following Christ Jesus.

[At] the time of the end Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.” (Daniel 12:9-10)

if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (I Corinthians 11:31-32)

“Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice…Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away…And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple…went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple…and brought in Peter.

  1. and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
  2. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
  3. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man.

And immediately the cock crew…And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.(John 13:36-38; 18:15-27, Matthew 26:69-75, Luke 22:61-62)

When Christ Jesus became the judge instead of the judged, Peter and the other disciple most certainly received the things done in their bodies.

“the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead…Jesus saith to Simon Peter…when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me [to crucifixion]. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following…saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?…Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die…This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.” (John 21:14-24)

There is a clear connection between Pete betraying the Lord out of fear of being crucified with him, and his death by crucifixion, just as clear as the connection between John risking being crucified with Christ by identifying himself as a disciple of Jesus during Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin and being the only apostle who did not experience a horrible martyr’s death.

And Peter’s form of death was not a punishment.

It was probation.

Can we not recognize that the Lord gave Peter a second chance to live up to his boast that he would follow him to the death of the cross? The Lord is truly longsuffering. All the disciples except John failed to follow Jesus to the end, and except John who had already qualified, all were given another chance to qualify for leadership.

If we put ourselves in a militaristic mindset we will understand how essential qualified leadership is in a battle. Perhaps we can catch a glimpse from Winston Churchill’s inspiring words as, in 1940, he convinced England to face the overwhelming might of Germany and its Axis, alone.

the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.” [Emphases added.]

Wow. How does one develop that inspired leadership, convincing an entire nation to follow him into a war with such high odds of failure but still to risk everything dear to them – their fathers, sons and daughters to face death or permanent disability, loss of their homes and all their belongings in the Blitz, impoverishment of the entire nation to pay for weapons of war?

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. ” (John 12:21-33)

By dying? Yes. Winston Churchill convinced the British to be glorified through willingness to die.

Overlay that thought with Jesus’ words.

“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:23-27)

Most people know Winston Churchill by…the way he led the United Kingdom with the Allies to victory in World War II. He is one of the most quotable people of all time and books continue to be written about him [like Jesus.]

churchilldown

What most people do not know is that Winston Churchill was considered an incredible failure by the age of 40.

It’s easy to canonize Winston Churchill because of his successes. But, pay closer attention to his failures that made him who we know him today. 

During the First World War, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and the chief proponent of the invasion of Turkey now known as the Gallipoli campaign. His strategy was to create a southern link to Russia, their ally. The Turks were a skillful and determined enemy, repelled the allies, and the campaign costed the lives of many young Australians and New Zealanders (ANZAC troops). Perhaps not solely responsible for the tactical defeat on the ground, the campaign was never the less Churchill’s idea and it crippled him politically for years…

Churchill entered the political wilderness, dug in his heels, and marched back to eventually become Prime Minister during World War II.

So what do we learn from Churchill’s first half of life?

Churchill said it best,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

We may not live life with the type of drama that Churchill lived but we do share the ups and downs of life. Which honest person hasn’t had setbacks in life? We all have taken a punch or two to the face and even have fallen. It hurts admitting it but it is part of life.

“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Churchill’s life has taught us that failure is part of our journey and we become better because of it.

For that, we can keep getting back up and moving forward because victory in life is found in how we respond to the punches.

The big difference between Judas’ and Peter’s betrayals of Jesus is that Judas gave up but Peter courageously faced up to his failure, with his companion John as well as with the Lord Jesus.  

“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.” (John 20:1-3)

More than once.

“when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (Galatians 2:11)

But no-one exemplifies the call to suffering for those who identify with the Christ and his chosen people Israel than the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul.

“what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge [unity] of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Philippians 3:7-10)

“whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more;

  • in labours more abundant,
  • in stripes above measure,
  • in prisons more frequent,
  • in deaths oft.
  • Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
  • Thrice was I beaten with rods,
  • once was I stoned,
  • thrice I suffered shipwreck,
  • a night and a day I have been in the deep;
  • In journeyings often,
  • in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
  • In weariness and painfulness,
  • in watchings often,
  • in hunger and thirst,
  • in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
  • Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

If I must needs glory...The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. ” (II Corinthians 11:21-30)

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