Nov. 25, 2016

Where Do You Live?

“It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.”(Isaiah 27:13) See also Revelation 11:15-18 and Hebrews 12:22.

 

Where do you live - in captivity in Assyria or Egypt?

Or do you find yourself on the road home?

Or have you come home to “the holy mountain”?

 

First of all this prophecy speaks directly to a specific time in Isaiah’s day - the physical return of Israel from its places of captivity to its home, and its worship of God in the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

Yet it speaks in every age to a deeper meaning - the sound of a great trumpet that shakes, wakes, and moves from slumber the spiritually captive and dead from the enslavement of self, Satan, sin, and the system of this world. This trumpet calls, shakes, and wakes those who have been made ready to come out of the reign of all false gods of the world and religion, and to return to the Heavenly Father through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. 

The Old Testament narrative speaks to us as a living parable - in history, types, metaphor, allegory, and symbol - through the people of God in the ages before Christ. It speaks to resurrection  - spiritual awakening (from the “death” of sin separating us from God, by the action of the Spirit of the Lord). It speaks to restoration as the sons of God (by surrender in that same Spirit to the Word / teaching of Jesus Christ, and heeding His specific direction as the Still Small Voice). It culminates in a return spiritually, now and forever, to our true Home. In short, all the stories of old speak to Jesus Christ and our new reality in Him!

This is in every way the “pattern” seen in Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. It too is the story of our return home to the Father’s everlasting joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Many religions - even some calling themselves by the name of Christ - do not comprehend, and therefore leave out - if not outright denounce - the primary component of the story of this journey home. That part is the work of Redemption which our Savior accomplished in full through His Passion (His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension). Without this - the foundation knowledge of all important redemptive acts wrought by Christ alone - the journey home cannot happen. A revelation that corresponds to this must be bestowed, by the Spirit of the Lord Himself, namely that in our Lord Jesus Christ we too have died, been buried, are raised up and ascended!

All efforts on our part, apart from this understanding, are useless works of the flesh. Among these “dead works” we find the self-efforts of psychology, so called “spiritual practices” we’re led to believe will provide “union” with God or enlightenment, self improvement techniques, and the like. Especially in America “the best of east and west” are the new false gods promising enlightenment and the veneer or appearance of goodness and “spirituality”. Yet these are only more clever traps that keep us locked up by self delusion. They are not the Way of eternal life established in and through Jesus Christ. They are only ways to fool ourselves with very deceptive forms of self righteousness! They are obstacles standing in the way of our returning home to the holy mountain.

There is only one Person having the key that can unlock all the lock downs of the places of death and Hades. There is only one Person Who shuts and no man opens, Who opens and no man shuts. That is Jesus Christ! He opens with the work of Redemption He alone accomplished - once for all, and with the revelation of Himself to the inner being as the one and only Redeemer. His Spirit’s voice is the trumpet awakening us and calling us out of the “Assyrias" and “Egypts” that have us in chains. He is the only One capable of leading us back to home and the holy mountain. 

Paul proclaimed these metaphysical (beyond the physical) realities throughout His letters to the churches. A study and contemplation of Ephesians is a powerful place to begin to understand. He prays vigorously for this revelation of how the redemption is to unfold in the lives of those predestined for its purpose. ( See Ephesians 1:15-23, 3:14-21) This points to the church becoming the fulness of Him Who fills all in all. The end of this is “that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God”! 

The prayer is for the church to experience the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” The marvel of it is, Paul announces Jesus as seated at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places (celestial abode of the father), far above all the (cosmic) rule, authority, power, dominion, and every name that is named. But then it gets even better as the story also reveals that even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, God by grace made us alive and seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!  Why? So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7). We are His workmanship created to walk by faith within the “good works” He also created in Him. There is no self effort here!

This is the mystery of our salvation. It was made known to Paul by revelation - made known to him by the Spirit of the Lord (Ephesians 3:3). That it should also be made known to “believers” was his intense prayer and work, so that we might also become “receivers” of the grace of God in Christ whereby we “come home” - to all of His kindness (Ephesians 3:7). How intensely he prayed that this wisdom and revelation would come to us!

Thus it should not escape our awareness, in Philippians 4:9, where Paul clearly directs us to follow his example: “the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you.” 

What is said here begs the question, if we are to practice what we see in Paul, then what - in light of today’s meditation - ought to be the priority of our life of prayer? How does it relate to where you spiritually live now?