The Power of the Feminine

 Man is created to exist in union with women. Male united with female.

  1. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

 Genesis 1:27

In the verse above, God creates man in His image. In the first part of the verse, the writer uses the word man not as specifically indicating the male gender, but is speaking of the human race, as in mankind. He then after the semicolon, furthers his description by saying that “male and female He created them.” Before we are able to understand the significance of gender, we must understand that from the beginning of biblical history God was understood to be both male and female.

I understand that my statement concerning God being understood to be both male and female may be a little odd to some. Many writers will refer to the Holy Spirit as “He” or “It.” There are countless writings and debates concerning which is correct. The words used for Holy Spirit in both the Hebrew language of the Old Testament (Ruach HaKadosh) and the Aramaic language (Ruha d’qudsha) that Jesus spoke are written in the feminine. In Genesis 1:2, the original Hebrew text “Ruah Elohim” is translated “Spirit of God.” Ruah is a feminine noun. Now, we must understand that masculine and feminine attributes are not physically sexual in nature. For we as believers, it is very important and difficult to get the sexual aspect of human emotion out our minds when understanding true masculine and feminine attributes. The feminine nature of God is the loving, caring, nurturing, healing associated with the Divine. Let’s take a look at what St. Paul says about the nature or the fruits of the Spirit. In other words, the attributes of our human nature that develops as the Holy Spirit begins to do Her perfect work in the life of a believer:

  1. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  2. gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

 Galatians 5:22-23

Yes, men, we have a feminine side!

Eve was not just an afterthought created to save Adam from his boredom as a way of entertainment. God did not create Adam and then noticed that he looked lonely and said to Himself, “Hey this guy looks bored, let Me see what I can do to help him out here.” Let’s take a look at the record (Scripture) and see what it says:

20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.

 Genesis 2:20

When we begin to understand this Scripture for what it actually says instead of the way most of us have been taught, we can begin to look at the situation a little differently. The thing that we must understand is that this is a narrative. Most, if not, all of Genesis was handed down through oral tradition for hundreds of years before, as it is speculated, Moses compiled all of the stories. Hold on, before you get upset here, I am not saying that the book of Genesis is not divinely inspired or inherently recorded. All that I am saying is that it is a story written as a story so we as simple-minded humans can understand.

A common phrase amongst Bible scholars, and there are many variations of this phrase, is, “be cautious in obeying the letter of the law and not the Spirit.” Much of the Bible is written stories intended to relate a specific idea or emotion to the reader. One of Jesus’ primary methods of teaching was and is through stories (parables).

Jesus understood the propensity for his words to be taken out of context by those trying to twist the intent of the Scripture to lend credence to their own agenda. This is evident as we read the words of Jesus as recorded by St. Matthew:

  1. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
  2. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

 Matthew 23:23-24

What He is saying is, stop getting hung up on the exact words that I am saying and listen to what I am trying to communicate. This portion of Scripture can be used as a good example. Does the Scripture above only apply to a person who can swallow a camel? If it does, does it also apply to a person if he has swallowed a camel, but has never strained at a gnat? What about someone who has swallowed a gnat because the spaces between their teeth are too wide to strain a gnat?” Yes, this dialog is foolish, but it is no less foolish than some of the dialog that was going on between the Scribes and Pharisees. Not only were they having discussions like this, but they were also imposing laws upon the religious people of their day based on such dialog. We need to be careful before you sit in judgment of the Scribes and Pharisees. Dialog just as ridicules goes on today in the modern Church. I have been guilty of such dialog early in in my walk with the Lord. Oh Yeah, I spent many years as a Pharisee in training. I thank the Lord I failed out of that program.

Picture this fictitious scene. The Lord calls to Moses “Moses come on up the top of the mountain and bring plenty of parchment and a box of pens.” So Moses gathers everything he will need and stuffs into his backpack and heads up the mountain. Upon arriving at the top, God tells him to “Pull up a rock and get comfortable. This is going to take a while. I told you to bring the parchment because you don’t have enough camels to carry this story if we write it down on stone tablets.” (If you think of an old Jewish guy speaking it will help you with the narrative. Maybe if I ever incorporate this into an audiobook, I can get Mel Brooks to read this part.) Now the Lord asks Moses if he is ready and Moses responds while stretching out his arms and cracking his knuckles, “I am ready Lord.” The Lord begins “Now let me tell you how this whole thing started….”

Now back to Genesis 2:20:

20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.

Important to helping us understand this text we need to have a little better understanding of what it most likely means to the Hebrew mind.

A good place to begin is with the words of Jesus:

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

 Matthew 24:36

 Jesus was speaking of the day of His return. To us, as Christians, this text can be little perplexing, but to the Jew, it was very relatable. Jesus was speaking of returning for His Bride. In Jewish culture when a man becomes betrothed to a woman he leaves her for a period of time to go and prepare a place for his bride. He may build a home, buy furniture, or plant some flowers along the front walk. He’s in love. I am sure his mother is getting in on the excitement and gathering things together; window treatments, bedding and such. I am not exactly sure what, but you can picture the scene, all the things that women think about before the big day. She is most likely driving him nuts with stuff that he can’t possibly understand as important, but she does. That’s why God gives us mothers and wives.

Now the father’s role is a little different. He is helping with stuff that, if the son doesn’t understand, he will, as his father helps him through the preparations. Is the front door hung straight, does the kitchen sink leak, is the driveway smooth and so on? You know, guy stuff. It is not only the father’s role to help his son, but it is also his job to let his son know when the preparations are complete and the son is ready for his bride.

Now let’s take another look at Genesis 2:20. It should look a little different to us now:

  1. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.

Let’s continue with our fictional dialog between God and Moses:

“You should have seen Adam; we were looking over different options of how to arrange things in the Garden. He was running around naming all of the animals, it was great!” Moses asks, “It sounds like he was excited, and he had no idea what his gift was going to be?” God responds, “What, and ruin the surprise! Was he excited you ask! Are you kidding me, he was like a little kid the day before Christmas. He was so wound up I had to give him a sedative to get him to go to sleep.” Moses takes his pen and writes, So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man.” (Genesis 2:21) God looks over Moses’ shoulder to see what he has written, pats him on the back and says, “exactly! – Oh, you should have been there, what great time we had.” Moses looks up at God, finger on his chin and asks, “what’s Christmas?”

Now let’s continue with this account from Genesis:

  1. …and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh;
  2. and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
  3. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
  4. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
  5. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:21-25

When we look at the account of creation, it is helpful for us to understand the significance of events as the “coming together of creation.” The order of, or “coming together of creation” is a foreshadowing of the events of the end times, the “unfolding of creation.” For example, Adam was created, and Eve was “taken from man’s side (rib) and made into a woman.” Man and woman became one flesh. Although the Scripture in Genesis does not specifically use the word marriage, they were married as a result of the act of physical consummation. Adam and Eve being the mother and father of all humanity in the physical. Now the unfolding of these events. Jesus is taken from Mary, from her flesh “through the power of the Holy Spirit.” This is why both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, as well as certain Protestant denominations, consider Mary to be the Spiritual Mother of the Church.

Jesus was crucified naked upon the Cross taking upon Himself the shame of the world, and with the shedding of His blood, cleansed His Bride (The Church) so she could enter into the presence (Heaven) of His Father without shame. Look at verse 25 above, Adam and Eve walked in the Garden, naked and without shame in the presence of the Father. When shame came into the world through the disobedience (sin) of Adam and Eve, the blood of the animal that God used to cover the shame of their nakedness (Genesis 3:21).

  1. To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16

 To delve into all of the implications of this verse would require several chapters, but for this conversation, I would like for us to focus on the last six words; “and he shall rule over you.” I know we covered this somewhat in detail in my last post, but I would like to dig a little deeper. Adam took a bride – so has Jesus. Adam is one with Eve as Jesus is one with His Bride the Church. As we look into the “unfolding” of creation, we must understand that Jesus was given charge by God the Father to rule over His Bride. There is nothing more important to Jesus on this Earth than, first the love of His Father in Heaven, and the second is to care for his Bride (Matthew 22:28-39).

What do we think that God is saying to Adam at the end of verse 16 above? Paraphrasing & embellishing – “Adam, besides loving Me, there is nothing more important to you in this life other than caring for Eve. She and her offspring are in for a battle that they will never make it through without your help. She is depending on you. You will need to fight for her and with her, and not back down even if it costs you your life, and it will, in that your seed (Jesus) will finish what you started by dying for your sins and the sins of your descendant’s.”

There is nothing more important in this life, other than loving God than learning to love one another. Man and women are created to become one flesh, giving themselves to one another completely. Until we understand this, humanity will continue to pull itself apart at the seams. Men, it is in our physical and spiritual DNA to care for and protect the women of this earth. We are to be joined to one in particular as one flesh, never to forsake the bonds of marriage through infidelity. However, this protective instinct is part of us to protect and care for all of the Daughters of Eve. Women it is the same is for you concerning the Sons of Adam. We can’t help it; it is who we are. When this truth becomes distorted in our understanding our hearts and minds become deceived into believing the lie of the enemy.

As I am writing this, I can’t help but think of my father in law. I love my father in law very much. He was a true patriarch of his family. In the weeks before he died we brought him to our home and cared for him with the help of Hospice. He passed away in our living room surrounded by the people who he loved. He is missed by many.

A few days before he died, with my wife, Mary, and I at either side of his bed, he was looking off into the distance, obviously deep in thought. Mary asked him “Dad, what are you thinking about?” His answer was, “Heaven.” He continued, “Before Kay’s (his wife Kathryn who died two years before) father died he asked me to take care of his daughters. I can’t wait to ask him how I did!” He had a smile on his face.

Kay had three sisters, and Irv spent most of his life taking care of those women. His name is James Irving Hall, but to his family he is Irv. Those women drove him nuts at times, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way. They all had husbands of their own, but Irv was always there to help out in any way that he could. He lived his life for his family.

Men, what will be our thoughts as we lie on our deathbeds? Will they be on all of the pornography that we watched and all of the women that we objectified and used for our own selfish desires, or will they be about being excited to see our Father in Heaven to ask him if we did well in taking care of His daughters?

I would like to continue with another story that exemplifies and should help us to understand the power of the feminine in the life of the masculine (men). In 2005 the movie “Cinderella Man” was released. This movie was directed by Ron Howard and starred Russell Crow and Renee Zellweger and could have been titled “The Power of the Feminine.” I understand that many believers are upset with Ron Howard, but no matter how they feel about the De Vinci Code, he must be given credit for how absolutely right he, Akiva Goldsman, and Cliff Hollingsworth, the writers of this film, got “Cinderella Man.” I have no idea of the religious convictions of any of these three men, but the Truth was spoken through this work in a powerful way.

Russell Crow plays James J. Braddock, ex-two-time heavyweight world champion boxer who fought during the great depression. Renee Zellweger co-stars as Mae Braddock, James’ adoring wife. The story is a dramatization with a Hollywood twist of the life of this couple during James’ struggle to the top. The movie begins with James achieving modest success and notoriety in the world of boxing. He is soon plagued with injury and eventually loses his license to box and his ability to support for his family.

Shortly after the film begins, there is a scene where James walks through the door of his family’s apartment and is wearing a cast. He explains to Mae that he has broken his hand in three places and can no longer fight because they have taken away his license to box. She asks what are they going to do, now that he can’t work with a broken hand. He tells her that they are going to cover his cast with shoe polish, so the men at the docks won’t notice that his hand is broken, as he grabs a shoe shine kit out of the cabinet and walks over and sits in front of her. The shipping docks are a place where many of the unemployed men go to work as day laborers. He looks at her with sullen shame and says that he is sorry. He is saying that he is sorry, not only because he cannot fight any longer, but more importantly because he did not come home with the prize money that they so desperately needed to care for themselves and their three children. She says “no” to him several times with her voice full of compassion and forgiveness as she moves over onto his lap and puts her arms around him.

A few scenes later, as the story unfolds, James and Mae are at the kitchen table. The camera moves from James and Mea to their three children sleeping in the same room as steam is coming from their mouths because the power has been disconnected. Mea takes James’ hand and begins to pray. Mae looks up as James looks away and says, “I am all prayed out.” It is clear that James’ is losing hope and sees himself as a failure.

The story continues with James working at the shipping docks in an attempt to scrape together whatever it will take to get power turned back on in their apartment. James returns home to find the children are gone, and he and Mae are all alone in the apartment. When he asks where the children are, Mae explains that she has brought them to various relatives until they are able to get back on their feet. James responds by telling her that he promised their oldest son that they would never send him away. Mae does her best to explain and says that she is sorry. Her sentiment is not that she is sorry for what she has done, but she is sorry for the situation. Her words are an utterance of frustration and compassion for her husband who is very obviously becoming lost in shame. He turns and empties his pockets of the few coins, on the kitchen table, that represents all that he has been able to do for his family, and walks out the door.

The story follows by James humbling himself and going to the Emergency Relief Administration office to apply for financial aid. He takes the money that he receives, which is about half of what he needs to pay the power bill, and then goes to his old boxing associates with a downturned countenance, hat in hand, and pleads for help. Some turn away but others slowly and reluctantly begin dropping money in his hat as he moves through the room.

James and Mae have the power restored, and James receives hope in an unexpected way. He is offered a one-time fight by his former manager, Joe Gould, played by Paul Giamatti. They are looking for a boxer who they feel is certain to lose against a young rising contender. James wins the fight in a completely unexpected upset, and one thing leads to another, and he is given the opportunity to earn back his license.

Mae is happy that James is winning and able to provide for his family, but she is torn concerning James being involved in such a dangerous profession. As James is given more fights, and Mae becomes more distraught and marches over to Joe Gould’s, apartment, located in a wealthy uptown neighborhood and knocks on the door. She is there to give Joe and piece of her mind and tell him that she does not want James to fight. When the door is opened to her, she enters into an empty apartment. Mea walks in dismayed as he sees Joe and his wife Lucille, played by Linda Kash, standing in a room with only a few chairs and a table.

Mae is humbled as he sits with Joe and Lucille as she learns that they sold all of their furniture so they would have the money to pay James while he is training. Mea expresses her dismay at what they have done with a grateful tone and goes on to explain how upset she is at the thought of her husband getting hurt in the ring. Lucille understanding Mae’s heart and very tactfully gets Joe to leave the room and says “Can you ever stop yours when he sets his mind to a thing?” Mae shakes her head and looks up “I wish could.” Lucille continues, “You see, I never know if it’s harder on them or us. We have to wait for them to fix everything and every day they feel like they are failing us. Really it’s just the world that’s failed you know.”

My jaw dropped when I heard this dialogue; it entered right into my heart. The words obviously touched Mary, my wife, as she turned to me and said, “you don’t feel that way do you?” I said, “No, but I have in the past.”

Look at Lucille’s words “we have to wait on them to fix everything.” Think of Adam in the Garden and Jesus preparing a place for us in Heaven. When a man feels that he is failing to care for his wife (his Daughter of Eve) his entire world comes undone, whether he understands what’s going on or not. Daughters of Eve you have the power to break your Son of Adam or to lift him up with the look of your eyes and tone of your voice. Man and women are created to live as one flesh. The implications of the spiritual bonds that unite us are more than we are able to understand on this side of Heaven.

When Mary and I were separated, I was so hurt and so angry that I fought to stay angry because I felt that it was the only way I could become free from her. I didn’t understand what I was doing at the time, but as I think back on the situation, it has become clear. Our spirits are united, and I was trying to break free when something very unexpected started happening. Her spirit came to me in my dreams. I know at this may seem a little out of the box, but it is the best way I can relate what happened. The dream I remember the most is with her sitting on a chair with a look of being completely lost in grief and saying to me, “Billy, what are we going to do.” She was waiting for me to do what I was created to do – care for her in the love of Christ. In her spirit, she had committed to stand in the gap for our marriage. As I said above, at the time I was not sure what was happening, but I did begin to understand that I needed to take back my God-ordained place by her side.

Listen, I am not trying to imply that women can’t take care of themselves. However, what I am saying is that man and women living apart from one another is not part of God’s perfect plan for our existence. God, created us, you can think in terms of programming if it helps, to live male and female was one complete person (in marriage). I understand that my words will most likely infuriate some women who read this. For this, I am deeply saddened. I am grieved for women who have been led down a path in his life that would develop in them a worldview that men are somehow useless or even worse, the enemy.

Lucille’s last line, “Really it’s the world that’s failed you know,” couldn’t be truer. The setting of this movie takes place during the great depression. Most men were in a fight every day to provide for their families. I say, men because in those days the majority of women didn’t work outside the home other than sewing or doing laundry for the wealthy. Most employers wouldn’t consider giving a job to a women feeling that it would take a job from a man who needed to support his family. Many men took their own lives, and others left their families unable to handle the shame of failure, finding it easier to live on streets or ride the rails as a hobo. Hobo was a name given to men who would illegally hop into freight trains as a means of transportation in the hope of finding work as a farm-hand in rural areas, however for many of these men riding the rails and begging for food became a way of life.

Today, men are still in a fight for their lives. However, many of today’s struggles are created by a broken world system. We as a society are constantly inundated with the message that we need to have more and better. Attractive looking models looking seductively into a television camera giving the message, “If you drive this car, wear this watch, have this job, or drink this brand of beer you would be a real man.” Our advertising world understands the “power of the feminine” and strives every day to harness that power to its full potential. How many adds have we watched for sex-enhancing drugs starring an attractive woman, seductively looking into the camera and delivering the message that, “If you take this drug, your wife or girlfriend will look at you the way the I am, and if she doesn’t, you will be able to find someone who will?” Millions of dollars are spent every day specifically targeted to speak directly into the hearts of men who feel like they are failing.

Back to the movie:

A few scenes later James was getting ready to leave the apartment for his next fight, and says to Mae, “I know this isn’t what you wanted, but I can’t win without you behind me.” She replies, “I’m always behind you.” James bends down, gives her kiss with a smile on his face, and invites her to come along to see the fight. She declines as always, not being able to bring herself to watch him in harm’s way. She is beginning to understand how much he needs her support but is torn by fear of losing him. He is Mae’s security.

Two fights later he is matched with a much younger Art Lasky, played by Mark Simmons, but he is holding his own when in the twelfth round Braddock takes a hard shot to the head that knocks his mouthpiece across the ring. He is obviously shaken and scene changes to images of his children, his wife, and past due notices. James is filled with a renewed strength and goes on to win the fight by unanimous decisions in the fifteenth round.

James returns home with pride in his step and a dozen roses in his hand, only after going by the Emergency Relief Administration office to pay back the money he had received. When he is later asked by a reporter, with Mae by his side, why he paid back the money his answer was, “I believe we live in a great country, a country that is great enough to help a man, ah, financially when he is in trouble. Well lately I’ve had some good fortune, and ah, I’m back and the black, and I just thought I should return it.”

At the end of the same news conference one of the reporters inquires of Mea concerning James’ next fight, “Mrs. Braddock my readers would love to know how do you feel about the fact that, ah, Max Baer killed two men in the ring. So how do you feel about that ma’am? Are you scared for your husband’s life?”

Max Bear was the world heavyweight champion played by Craig Bierko. Bear is younger and much larger than Braddock. They did a good job at making Russell Crow look small, and did an even better job of painting the picture that Braddock was facing a giant who would feel no remorse at killing an opponent in the ring.

Following the interview, James and Mae are attending a dinner party hosted for the who’s who of the boxing world. They are sitting at a table with Joe Gould, Braddock’s manager, his wife, and few others when a waiter comes over with an expensive bottle of champagne sent over by Max Bear. James gets up and walks over to thank Max Bear, and in reality, it is to call him out on his rude, taunting gesture. Of course, followed by a little intimidating banter and a few shots by the press when Mae walks over. Bear makes a few insulting comments insinuating that after he kills James in the ring that he will take care of Mea because James isn’t man enough to do the job.   Mea responds by throwing a glass of water in his face and walks away.

The film continues depicting James as feeling discouraged and lacking confidence. At one point Mea comes to him and insists that he do something, anything not to have to fight Bear. She is becoming increasingly distraught about the fight, which is doing nothing more than attacking James’ confidence, as he shows no sign of backing down from the challenge. Thinking back on Lucille’s question, “Can you ever stop yours when he sets his mind to a thing?”

On the day of the fight, James is getting in the car, surrounded by Mae and kids. He is cracking jokes with the kids about how great he is going to the do in the fight, and then he looks over at Mea, they don’t say a word to one another. James gets in the car, and it pulls away.

Mae then goes to the Church and Father Rorick, played by Chuck Shamata, greets her at the door. She tells him that she is there to pray for James. The camera pans to the sanctuary, and the church is full of people praying for her husband. Father Rorick tells her, “They all think he’s fighting for them.”

All battles need the spiritual covering of prayer. How many men are standing on their feet today because of the prayers of a mother or wife? It only gets better with the support of a faith community standing with us as we fight.

The next scene shows James in the locker room with his manager trying to encourage him, but it is not working. James is saying everything that Joe wants to hear, but as a man without hope. There is a knock at the door. The door opens, Mae enters, and Joe leaves as she walks over to her husband and says “You can’t win without me behind you know.” James responds, “I’ve been trying to tell you that.” The tension is broken, and she has his full attention and tenderly, but full of compassion and determination says, “Maybe I understand something about having to fight, so you just remember who you are. You are the bulldog of Bergin and the pride of New Jersey. Your everybody’s hope, yet you cant see your own, and you are the champion of my heart James J. Braddock.”

She is fighting right along with him. He in the ring and she energizing his spirit with everything he needs to have the best possible chance of winning – her encouragement and prayers. She has given him the encouragement that we as men must have to be the best that we can be, but yet find so utterly impossible to acknowledge that we need. We as men and women have the courage most often to face our fears alone, but we are way more effective at vanquishing the enemy when we fight together.

She understands “something about having to fight,” and has acted on that understanding, and is learning to place her fears in the hands of the One Who is her greatest hope. Our greatest weapon is the one we wield on our knees.

 “Anyone who fights his demons with his own weapons is a fool.”

 Henri J. M. Nouwen

See the movie; I can’t do this story the justice that it deserves. The movie finishes with different scenes of the fight and shots of Mea and the folks at the church in prayer for her husband. Mae even brings herself to listen to the end of the fight with her family as James goes on to become heavyweight champion of the world, winning by unanimous decision.

 

Woman – Daughters of Eve

It seems that the reports of sexual sin and crime are becoming more prevalent in the news. Almost daily we hear of children being molested, women being abused, and men confessing to being sex addicts as justification for acting out with unbridled sexual promiscuity. My heart is saddened with grief over many close friends and family members who have been affected by such issues. Our culture seems to be falling apart at the seams and women and children seem to be taking the brunt of the consequences, while men seem to display very little sense of responsibility for their actions. What is even more troubling is that the statistics do not seem to be much different amongst Christians.

Most Christians are familiar with the account of God destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone because of the wickedness of the inhabitants. God sent two angels to save Lot and his family from destruction. When Lot brought the two angels into his home the night before the judgment, the dwellers of the city surrounded his home. They demanded that Lot send out the angels because they desired to have sex with them. Lot then offered his two daughters if they would leave and not harm his guests.

  1. and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
  2. Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him,
  3. and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.

 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

 Genesis 19:5-8

Our entire world has been turned upside down because of the evils of sexual sin. Many read the account of Sodom and Gomorrah and wonder how men could be so wicked. Why would Lot offer his two daughters? More importantly, why would the inhabitants prefer the angels before his daughters?

Before we can begin to understand the answers to these questions, we need to understand the place of women upon this earth.

To begin, we must understand that there is nothing in creation more beautiful than women. When God created man, he was lonely until God created Adam’s perfect helpmate.

  1. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.
  2. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh;
  3. and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
  4. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
  5. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
  6. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:20-25

Women is God’s perfect gift to man. She is created from man’s flesh. She completes him. She is to join with man (in marriage), and they are to become one flesh. She was not created as a toy to be objectified or dominated into subjection, but she is to be reverenced and honored above all else in creation. She is God’s perfect work, the pinnacle of God’s handiwork upon the Earth. She is a ministering spirit created to care for all of humanity. Every human being that has ever existed or will ever exist is a child of Eve, with the exception of one man. This man is Adam, with whom she is one flesh.

Why did the serpent, who is the devil, go after Eve to deceive her, and not Adam? Some will say it’s because she is the weaker vessel, but I think it is more than that. Satan is also a created being. He was created as a ministering spirit and fell due to the spiritual pride of desiring to be like God. Jesus told His disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven.” (Luke 10:18) Why did Satan fall from Heaven? Satan said in his heart that he would ascend in glory above the Most High (Isaiah 14:12-15). The moment the thought entered his heart he was cast from Heaven. Not just he, but also a third of all of the angels (Revelation 12).

Now that we understand why Satan and a third of the angels were cast out of Heaven, let’s take a look at how they were cast out.

  1. Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
  2. but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
  3. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

 Revelation 12:7-9

Satan was created as a ministering spirit who failed in his ministry through the pride and deception of his own heart, bringing shame to himself and a third of the angels in Heaven, having reserved a place in hell because of their actions. He deceived Eve just as he deceived the angels who fell. Does jealousy burn in Satan’s heart over this new race of ministering spirits created upon the earth, in which God takes delight?

  1. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
  2. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:4-5

Eve was created as a helpmate (a ministering spirit) to man, and failed through the same deception as the angels. Satan went from being a minister of light to become a minister of shame. Eve not only lost her place in the Garden, but she also failed in her ministry. She was created to help Adam, not lead him away from God.

  1. To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 

Genesis 3:16

God had mercy on Eve, I believe, because of her innocence. She did not fail because of the wickedness of her heart. She failed because she was deceived. Satan fell because of the wickedness of his heart. God made a way of redemption for Eve, but for Satan He created the lake of fire and eternal damnation (Revelation 20:10).

Satan has come after Eve and her offspring with a vengeance. Let’s take a look at words of Revelation as the Apostle John gives an account of the way the story is revealed to him in Heaven.

  1. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
  2. And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child.
  3. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.
  4. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood.
  5. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth.
  6. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

 Revelation 12:12-17

imagesNow, let’s go back to Lot and the angels. The men surrounding Lot’s house were demonic, possessed with the spirits of the fallen angels who are at war with women and the angels who were fighting with Michael the Archangel. These demons, being ministers of shame, acting through the people of Sodom, wanted to harm the angels sent to protect Lot in the greatest possible way. Sex was designed by God to be good and holy between a man and women, to unite them as one flesh. It creates a spiritual union between the two. When men say that we are sexual beings, that is a lie straight from the lips of our enemy. The truth is that we are spiritual beings created to be united as one flesh through a physical act of intimacy. When sex is performed in any way other than as intended by God, it brings shame and death.

I believe that the crowd that surrounded Lot’s home would have taken his daughters under different circumstances, but they were blinded by rage towards Michael and his angels. I certainly cannot even begin to understand the idea of sending his daughters to satiate his neighbors hunger for wickedness, but we are only given a small glimpse into the situation through Scripture. St. Peter in his second epistle, when writing of this event, refers to Lot as “righteous” (2 Peter 2:7).

We must learn to view women as they are created. Women are ministering spirits engaged in battle every day of their lives. They are Gods greatest gift to humanity, second only to Christ Jesus. They are the Daughters of Eve. They are created to minister to humanity and battle against our enemy as the angels in Heaven. Women have taken the greatest casualties in Satan’s battle against humanity. They have been abused, raped, and pillaged through deception. Satan’s fury has been unleashed against the Daughters of Eve from the first days of creation until today, and will be until the end of the age.

My Daughter of Eve’s name is Mary. She is named after Mary, the Blessed Virgin, and Mother of Christ Jesus. Our Mother was destined to be one flesh with the Savior of all humanity. All the fallen angels in Heaven fought with a vengeance to keep Mary from giving birth to Jesus, but the “earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth (Revelation 12:16). Now the dragon (serpent) is angry with women, and is going after her offspring with a vengeance (Revelation 12:17).

My Mary is truly a ministering spirit. Being sexually molested as a child, she carries the scars of a warrior who has been attacked and has risen to engage valiantly in battle against the demonic forces of the wicked. She has triumphed over our enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of her testimony (Revelation 12:11). She has stood in the gap as my helpmate for years, when I treated her as anything but the blessed women of God that she is. She has remained standing in the gap for me when I was unable even to crawl. Many pray prayers of thanks for our guardian angels, which is good, but what about our Guardian Daughters of Eve?

My Daughter of Eve has stood with one hand holding the Sword of the Spirit, and the other holding my hand keeping me from sliding into the pit. She stands wearing the Breastplate of Righteousness, loins girded with Truth, ministering night and day for our children, grandchildren, and many others who you would never know are not our own. She is a woman who wears the Full Armor of God, who should in no way ever be ashamed, fully committed to her ministry and calling upon this earth.

It is heartbreaking to consider all the women who walk this earth who have absolutely no idea who they are. These Daughters of Eve are casualties of a battle that they are not even aware is raging around them. It is in a women’s spiritual DNA to be wanted and to be considered useful for that which they are created. The devil has deceived so many into believing that they are worth nothing more than to be objectified and used for the pleasure of men with wicked hearts. Every time we use one of these creatures for our own lust, we crush and darken their hearts and steal a little more of their identity.

Do we think that we are any different that than Lot’s neighbors who desired to have sex with the angels? We have spiritual beings walking among us, given to us as gifts from God, that we treat in the very same way. Come on, men; how many of us have spent time feeding the pornography industry? How many men have been unfaithful to their wives by having sex with a Daughter of Eve who is not their own flesh? Every time we come into the presence of one the Daughters of Eve, we should behold them as if an angel of God has appeared before our very eyes. Yet we live in a world that enslaves and abuses these creatures to feed its seemingly insatiable appetite of lust.

The fallen angels dishonor themselves and have lost their place in Heaven because of their self-seeking desire for power and glory. They burn with anger and lust to destroy everything that is holy and precious to God. There is no other which is more precious to God, created on earth, than Adam and Eve and their Sons and Daughters.

Sons of Adam, I ask you one question: Do you treat all Daughters of Eve as holy and precious, or do you burn with the lust of the fallen angels? Have we as men joined in the war against the Daughters of Eve and her Son Christ Jesus, or do we stand and protect her as we have been given charge by our God?

In that day when Satan first attacked Eve, God commanded that men are to rule over the “women” of the earth. “To the woman he (God) said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’” (Genesis 3:16)

 Now, Sons of Adam, I ask you the same question as above in a little different way: Do we rule over the Daughters of Eve, following the example of the king of this world and the damned, who is Satan, or do we follow the example of King of the Kingdom of Heaven and the redeemed, Who is Christ Jesus?

Christ Jesus gave His life for the Church. He rules with a Hand of Kindness, and with the Spirit of God. The fruits of the Spirit are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, (and)self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). Satan desires to take life from all who serve God, and rules over all who serve their own flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

Men, if our choice is to rule as Christ Jesus, we have been given charge to care for His Bride, as we were given charge to care for “women” in the Garden.

  1. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
  2. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.
  3. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
  4. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
  5. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
  6. that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
  7. that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
  8. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
  9. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
  10. because we are members of his body.
  11. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
  12. This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church;
  13. however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

 Ephesians 5:21-33

Sons of Adam, at the core of every woman’s heart is the desire to be loved. Her “desire is for her husband.” (Genesis 3:16) Many Daughters of Eve don’t understand this because the truth has been stolen from them by the wickedness of men’s hearts, who have chosen to follow the dark path of the deceiver of this world.

Why do women feel the need to liberate themselves? Why do they feel the need to objectify themselves in the world of entertainment, advertising, and pornography? Why have we killed millions of unborn babies, children who should have been conceived through a spiritual act of physical intimacy between two people of one flesh, but instead are conceived by the tainted hearts of those deceived and beguiled by the enemy of this world?

The answer to all of these questions is the same. It is because men have chosen the wrong side of the battle lines. Because men have chosen to war with the fallen angels instead of with Christ, He who gave His Life for our redemption.

I understand that men of this age have been deceived right along with women, but those who have heard the Gospel of Truth and have received the light of the knowledge of Christ Jesus are without excuse. I am also aware that there are many of us who have been hurt by women. This why it is so important for us as men to first understand the battle and what is at stake, and secondly, walk in the Spirit of Christ and lay down our lives, picking up our crosses daily in forgiveness. (Matthew 16:24)

Sons of Adam, I implore you, the next time you look upon a Daughter of Eve, think of these things. They are created as perfect in holiness, worthy of all of our love and reverence. We should tremble at the thought of even glancing at one of these beautiful gifts from God with ill intent. We should give thanks every day for what we have been given. One day Christ Jesus will appear out of the heavens, and it will be required of us to give an account for what we have been given charge.

Uncomfortable

I began writing this post at the foot of Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. I set out one morning to find a quiet spot in the forest where I could spend some time writing. I found, what I thought to be, the perfect place at a pick nick table right off of the road along the banks of Davidson River. There I was, all alone with the Lord when an SUV pulled up and four fly fishermen sprang out of the vehicle wearing waders and equipment with all the necessary gear. I sensed the Lord saying, “Now this is the perfect spot.” What I perceived of the fishermen is that one was a guide from one of the local outfitters instructing the other three. It appeared that it might very well have been the three novices first trip to the river with their guide patiently moving between the three offering his hand of guidance.

I found this intrusion upon my solitude very appropriate in that the story that I am attempting to unfold is deeply personal, while at the same time indicative to struggle that we all face. We all have our personal battles, yet we are all in this together. So many of us struggle alone when all we need to do is just open our hearts and reach out; help is but a whisper away.

Many of you have read my book, “Purgatory; Heaven’s Healing Waters.” Since it was published, I have been amazed, but not surprised, at the number of people who have opened up to me about their struggles in reconciling their abusive pasts. Many have shared that they felt that I have another book within its pages, wanting to know more about my past and more importantly, about my recovery.

I have started writing, not being sure that I am ready. But, like so many who have gone before, I feel it is time to begin, relying on God’s strengths, not on my own. How many who have gone into battle have felt ready when the lines have been drawn? Whether acknowledged or not we are in a battle. In a war for the hearts, minds, and souls of the ones we love. As St. Paul encourages Timothy we are to “fight the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:16).”

To be encouraged to fight implies a struggle. Note that Timothy is not encouraged, nor were any of the prophets or apostles, to become tucked away in a quiet corner licking their wounds, but engaged on the front line. This is not to imply that seeking a place of quiet and solitude to be with the Lord is wrong, but we are called to battle. We are called to fight. There is a time to hide away with the Lord for a period of healing, but this time of healing is for the purpose of preparing us to continue in the struggle.

This purpose of this post is to share with you the very unexpected way in which I feel the Lord has spoken to me over the past couple of weeks. I would like to begin by sharing with you a relationship that I have developed. I did not view this relationship as a relationship before just a few days ago when the Lord spoke to me in a very powerful way, and as I mentioned above, also very unexpected.

This relationship is with a rock; a very large rock, measuring in height over sixteen hundred feet, and over two miles long. Many who have read my past posts, may be guessing that this rock to be Looking Glass Rock, the very rock at whose base I sat when I began writing this post. For the past eight years, from the beginning of my recovery, this rock has been part of my life. I have snapped well over a thousand photographs of her in a relentless pursuit of capturing the perfect image of this monolithic giant that has become much more than a fascination. You can find her image front and center on my photography website; https://wjnovack.smugmug.com. I have climbed her many times, wept many tears upon her shoulders and looking upon her from afar. I have witnessed the splendor of watching the sun rise to warm her face no less than a hundred times. She is a magnificent beauty of God’s creation.

I spent from August of 2008 until December of 2009, in an amazing but painful retreat from my life hidden away in the woods of North Carolina healing from the wounds of my past. During this time the mountains became a place of solitude and sanctuary with the Lord. I love being in the house of the Lord, but I am not sure that there is any place other than in the cathedral of the forest where He speaks to me more deeply.

Since that time I have moved back to Florida to reclaim my marriage and family, while visiting my place refuge as often as possible. I am blessed, in that my mother in father live in those mountains giving me plenty opportunity to return. I am writing about a hike to the top of my old friend, Looking Glass Rock, that I experienced just a short time ago during one of these visits.

I suffer from a condition called atrial fibrillation or better known as a-fib. A-fib is a condition that causes the heart to beat irregularly, and at times with very fast, shallow, and ineffective, causing the sufferer to be weak and lightheaded. Some suffer from this condition chronically, meaning that it never stops and they live with it for their entire lives. I am not one of those people. My episodes come and go and are somewhat treatable with medication, typically lasting for twelve to twenty-four hours. My cardiologist says that I will most likely die from something other than a-fib. These episodes, although not life-threatening, can be little scary when my heart feels like it is going to beat out of my chest, I’m light headed and from time to time experience chest pains similar to a heart attack.

During my visit I planned a hike to the top of my old friend, Looking Glass Rock. The morning that I had planned my assent to the top of the rock, I was experiencing a-fib, which was very frustrating because I had suffered from the effects of the condition the entire day before. This episode was a rule breaker, as I mentioned above it typically only lasts for a day or so, two days is very unusual. I decided to go on my hike anyway. I showed up at the trailhead at 7:00 am and headed up the trail and within a hundred yards was experiencing considerable pain. Typically a-fib is relatively painless but annoying, but if a person, as I was doing, pushes the body into what would be considered cardio exercise, it can be very painful and can mimic the feeling of a heart attack in that the chest feels very tight and extreme lightheadedness can be experienced. Well, this is what I was feeling, but something inside of me prompted me to keep going. I soon began to pray for myself, and over my condition in the name of Jesus. I continued for about another half a mile when I stepped on a root and twisted my ankle. This was not just a quick turn of the ankle, this was a snap, pop and seeing stars kind of sprain that would, later that day, land me in the emergency room for x-rays.

Immediately upon turning my ankle, I had an impression to keep going. I definitely felt this to be prompting of the Holy Spirit. I understand that some may be thinking that moving forward to be questionable, an opinion that my wife may share. Either way, I pushed forward, and do not regret a single step. I had a truly amazing experience with our Lord all the way to the top of the trail and back to my truck.

My hike to the top was definitely a journey of remembrance. To begin, I need to go back about a week before. During a worship service at church I was petitioning the Lord to comfort me, as I have been dealing with epoxides of anxiety, which I am aware have been triggered by delving back into my history of sexual abuse while writing my new book which is very appropriately titled “Uncomfortable”, subtitled “Untying the Knots of Our Past.”

In the midst of my cries to our Lord, I heard Him ask me “What do you want?” The question came several times as I stood processing a response. The truth is that I wasn’t sure what I wanted. All I knew is that I was very uncomfortable. Then after dwelling in my perplexity, I very clearly heard Him say “No.” I sensed that He was telling me that this season in my life is something that I have been preparing for many years and that it would be uncomfortable. It is as simple as that. Battles are not comfortable, they are a struggle, often for our very lives.

As a member of the Body of Christ, the Church, we are not called out to be comfortable, but sanctified. We are sanctified in that we are called out as separate from the world as saints, to do His good will (Philippians 2:13).

Side Note – I am aware that some take issue with seeing the word Church capitalized. I would like to take a minute to explain that when I write the word Church, I am referring to the Church as a whole, the entire body of Christ; Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and Non-Denominational. The Church is the Body of Christ; the word Church should be capitalized unless used in a generic form or to describe a building such as “my church” or “going to church.” Another instance where I feel it is appropriate to capitalize Church, if for no other reason than out of a show of respect, is when referring to a particular movement or denomination such as a “Methodist Church,” or the “Catholic Church,” or the “Protestant Church.”

  1. for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good will for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

The message of the world is to seek pleasure above all else. We are inundated with this message every day; eat this, drink this, take this if you have the slightest bodily or mental discomfort, sleep in this bed, you deserve to have a bigger home and nicer car, if you neighbor offends you take him to court and sue him, and so on. We, especially as Americans, have tried in many different ways to infuse this message of the world into our Christian culture.

After hearing this very unexpected answer of “no,” I began thinking of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s ministry was anything but comfortable, yet he loved God with an unquenchable passion, as did all of the profits. We are not called to a comfortable life. We are called to war against sin. We are called to a life of faith in the One Who calls us to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).

Jesus told us before He ascended to be with the Father, “peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you (St. John 14:27).” He is speaking of the Holy Spirit coming to dwell in the hearts of His saints. The peace that we seek is not of this world. We are called to fight against the ravages of sin and strive to save, through the Blood of Christ, all those who suffer the deception of the king of this world (satan).

  1. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own Blood.
  2. Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp and bear the abuse He endured.
  3. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.

Hebrews 13:12-14

All of my Christian life I have reached up during times of distress expecting our Father in Heaven to take my hand in comfort, but there comes a time when He needs to be enough. I need to go back another fifteen years to when I was sitting on the tarmac at Pensacola Airport. I was seated on a small twenty-person plain waiting for takeoff. The pilot came on the intercom and told us that we were most likely in for a rough flight because there was thunderstorm activity in the area. I am not comfortable flying on a calm day, and with this news, I was gripped with fear. I immediately begin to pray, “Oh God, please comfort me.” I very clearly heard Him ask me “When will I become your comfort.” In other words, He was asking me when He would be enough? When would He become all that I needed? I remember Him assuring me that He would comfort me, and He did, but followed by saying that there would come a day when He would need to be my comfort. A day faced with adversity when my immediate response is not to reach my hand up in fear, but to press forward in complete confidence in the One Who loves me more than I love myself.

Back to the worship service:

During that worship service, I heard Him tell me to change my prayer form “Please give me comfort,” to “Lord, please give me strength.” These were the words that I heard just moments after I sprained my ankle. I began to pray for strength as I continued upward towards my goal. The trail to the top is a 3.1-mile trail, climbing over sixteen hundred feet in elevation, consisting in large part of twisted roots and jagged rocks and ascending countless switchbacks. This is a tough trail without a-fib or a twisted ankle.

As you can imagine, I became much more focused on every step and continued to pray for strength. I began feeling the presence of the Lord in a very real and very sweet way. He was with me for every step as He has been my entire life, but there are those times when he pulls back the veil just a little bit to give us a feeling or glimpse of Heaven.

Then, I began to focus on the image of a crucifix in my mind. I know I may be losing some of my Protestant readers at the mention of the crucifix, but please hang with me here. I realize that many Protestant brothers and sisters are offended at the sight of the crucifix. They think Catholics somehow do not understand the crucifixion of Christ is a finished work – “Christ died once for all (Hebrews 6:10, Romans 6:10 & 1 Peter 3:8),” and that Catholics are continuously trying to pay for their sins.

Catholic teaching is unambiguous in the understanding of the efficacy of the cross of Christ. Catholics believe very strongly in a doctrine called “The Communion of Saints.” This is the understanding that all members of the Church, the living here on this earth, all that have gone before to be with the Lord in Heaven, and are yet to come, complete and are part of one Body; that one Body being Jesus Christ. This may be a little confusing to Protestants, and trust me it is a little confusing to some Catholics, because the Catholic Church designates certain people who have died as Saints, but the Catholic Church, in truth, considers all who are in Christ to be saints.

The second stanza of the Nicene Creed, which is recited at Catholic Mass, begins, “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of the Father.” Without explanation, this may sound a little strange. Some may be thinking, “Wait a minute, I thought we were all sons and daughters of God through the Blood of the Lamb.” This is true, but in the Catholic mind, this is only so if we are in Christ. I understand that Protestants believe this to be true as well, but they do not visualize it the same way as Catholics. This is one of the reasons why the crucifix is such powerful image for Catholics.

The crucifix represents the perfect work of Christ upon the Cross – one Perfect and Holy Sacrifice for the salvation of all humanity who have existed and will ever exist in the future; one single but perpetual sacrifice.

Here is the big one, the reason why the crucifix is so important to Catholics is because we are all to suffer with Christ as part of His Crucifixion.

  1. that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death

Philippians 3:10

  1. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

                                                                                                                       Galatians 2:20

What does it mean to suffer with Christ? Why did Christ suffer? Of course, He suffered for the sin of humanity. The word of God says thatHe was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).” Sin is the cause of all that makes us sick and wounded. Man was not created to live in sin. Man was created to live in perfect union with God in the Garden.

Jesus paid the ultimate price upon the Cross and gave of His Body and poured out His Blood as payment for the sin of all humanity, but we, being His, in Him are ordained to suffer with Him, called to “bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).” Sin is painful, it is ugly, and it sickens, it is the worst in every one of us. Sin is anything but comfortable, but we are not called to be comfortable, we are called to spend our lives striving to suffer with Christ, striving against sin.

Some may say that such an attitude is sick or masochistic. I don’t see it that way – I see it as love. Jesus Christ saved us from a life, no an eternity, of pain and suffering. His Church throughout history has not just been willing to share in His suffering, It has been compelled. The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Philippians “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).”

The following is a portion of scripture from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. It is written as an encouragement to the believers in Corinth who may have expressed bewilderment at many of the afflictions that they suffer because of their faith.

  1. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
  2. persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
  3. always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
  4. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 

2nd Corinthians 4:8-11

Many who come to Christ come with the notion that Jesus is going fix all of their problems and they go to live life happily ever after, leaving the problems of the world far behind. Jesus does mend our wounds when we come to Him, and we are healed mind, body, and soul if we allow Him to complete His perfect work in our lives. Here is what many do not understand on the front end of this process, once we filled with the Holy Spirit and healed, our minds begin working properly and we become compelled by our new nature in Christ with compassion for the suffering and dying of this world. We are given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), this is to say the mind of God, and also the Heart of God.

When God looks towards humanity His heart burns with compassion:

  1. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  2. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

St. John 3:16

As “Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).”

 These are the things that I think about as I meditate and focus on the crucifix.

As I continued my trek up the mountain, the harder I pressed forward, the more my chest tightened with pain and my ankle burned with every step. All I needed to do was stop, and pain would stop. So many of us lie down and curl up in the fetal position when the pain becomes too great in our lives because we cannot bear to go forward. This is completely understandable. I spent many years curled up in the bottom of a bottle or with some other way deadening my feelings. Those who are hurting and without hope just simply want the pain to stop and will reach in desperation for any way to achieve that end. However, we who are in Christ have hope and are called to press on through the pain. I can picture Jesus encouraging us through the storms of life, with outstretched arms, “Come on, take my hand. I know it hurts more than you ever imagined possible, don’t lie down, don’t quit, keep on going, we will get through this together.”

As I continued up the trail, I would take short breaks when the pain just became too much. I would put my hand on my knees, hunched over gasping for air, waiting for the tightness in my chest to subside enough so I could keep moving. At times in life, we need to take little breaks – quite times of healing with the Lord, and that’s okay, but we need to keep on moving, and not lie down and quit.

Within a couple of hours, I made it to the top of the rock. The feeling was amazing. I sat down to spend a few minutes in prayer and to enjoy the view. I took a few pictures with my phone, and within a short period of time, my ankle had swollen considerably. I realized that the longer I sat there, the more my ankle would swell, making my return trip more difficult, so got up and made my way back. Let me assure you – the only thing worse than climbing up a trail laden with twisted tree roots and jagged rocks with a sprained ankle, is climbing down such a trail. The nice thing about the descent is that my chest was pain-free, and breathing was much easier – like a walk in the park.

On my way back down, my first trip to the top of the rock came to my remembrance. It was in 2008, soon after my sabbatical in the mountains began. I was driving along one of the forest roads catching glimpses of the rock periodically through breaks in the trees. The desire came as an impulse – when I woke up that morning I had no thought of doing such a thing. I parked my truck at trail that looked like it led towards the rock. I filled my backpack with the essentials; my camera, several travel size bottles of wine, and couple bottles of water, and away I went. Oh yeah, I was drunk. Back then I was pretty much always drunk and typically traveled with well supplied for any occasion. A phrase that I heard years ago has stuck with me, “God takes care of drunks and idiots.” I have no idea of who first spoke this pearl of wisdom, but it was certainly appropriate for that day. I have no doubt that the only reason that I made it out of the woods that day alive was at the Hand of our very compassionate Father.

I headed up the trail for about a mile when came to the bottom of the rock. The trail ran both ways along the base of the rock with no apparent way to the top. I followed the trail until of found a spot I thought I could climb. It was a place where there was a long crag full of trees and underbrush that seemed to extend up the rock at a climbable angle as far up as I could see. I began my ascent bushwhacking my way up the south face. It was in no way a well-traveled path. It took me several hours to complete my conquest. I fell several times, ripped my clothing, and had several scrapes and cuts. Once I reached the top, I discovered a very well traveled trail. I remember feeling a little foolish considering the battle that I had just experienced when I could have walked a nice clear trail if I had been a little less compulsive. I decided to follow the trail back down even though I had no idea where it would end. It was getting late, and in my mind, anything would have been better than going down the way I came up. I came across a few other hikers – I am sure I was quite a sight.

It was well after dark when I made it to the end of the trail. I had a vague idea of where I was. I was exhausted, my feet were blistered, I was very dehydrated and several miles from my truck. The rock had kicked my butt. I started walking and after a mile or so and couple that I had met along the trail were kind enough to give me a ride back to my truck.

Our God is good and worthy of all our praise. When I think back to the first trip up the rock and consider my state of mind and sickness of my heart, I sit in amazement at the work our awesome God has done in my life. Back then I could not have even begun to imagine the work that our Lord has done in my life, and will continue to do until completion.

  1. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

Filled with the emotional pain of a broken heart and relinquishing hope I climbed the wrong path on my first ascent, but just a few days ago I walked to the top of the rock in physical pain, full of renewed hope along the right path. God was with me during both trips. As children of God it is so very important to remember who we are (children of God), where we came from (dead in our sins), where He has brought us (redeemed and renewed by the blood of His Son), and where we are going (To dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6)).

Back to this trip:

I made my way back to my vehicle and made 40-minute drive back to my folks (mom and dad) house. By the time I stepped out of the truck my ankle was pretty stiff. My wife, Mary, helped me wrap my ankle and pack it in ice. I took a handful of ibuprofen and laid down in the hope of taking a nap. Trying to sleep, it felt like someone was running a dull knife through my ankle didn’t work so well, and taking ibuprofen for the pain was like trying to kill a grizzly bear with a pellet gun. After several hours of trying to manage the pain, we (my wife, Mary and I) finally decided to go to the emergency room at the local hospital. I was also experiencing discomfort in my chest that felt a little different than I had encountered in the past.

Upon arriving at the hospital, the medical personnel brought me back to one of patient rooms a nurse immediately performed an EKG and drew blood, which is typical protocol with chest discomfort. Once the initial procedures were completed, they wheeled me back for chest and ankle x-rays. After waiting a couple of hours the doctor came in and told us that the x-rays came back fine and most of my blood was okay with the exception of one test that they were awaiting the results. The E.K.G showed that I was in a-fib but that my heart was not beating in a way that they would consider dangerous. Therefore, the doctor told us that if the final test came back within normal limits, they would give me some medication for the pain in my ankle and send me home.

Within about thirty minutes the doctor came into the room and said that he had some bad news. The last test they were waiting for came back indicating elevated troponin levels. Troponin is a protein that is released into the bloodstream by the heart wall when it is under the stress of a heart attack. This was the first time in all of my many trips to the hospital for heart issues that I had ever had a test come back with this type of result, which could explain why my chest felt so different. The doctor explained that they would be admitting me to the cardiac ward for observation. I then explained my trip to the top of the rock, offered as a plausible explanation for the stress upon my heart. He just looked at me like “yeah sure” and told me that he needed to consult with the hospital internist and that he would be back.

After about half an hour the doctor returned and explained that the internist had ordered a second blood test in two hours, and would agree to let me go home if my troponin levels had dropped within normal limits. He then told us to prepare to be admitted because troponin levels do not go down that quickly.

Thirty minutes after the second test the doctor came in shaking his head, “You’re not going to believe this, but your troponin levels are within normal limits.” My reply was a simple, “Yes I would.”

  1. but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2nd Corinthians 12:9

This story in no way a testament as to my strength, but His. What I learned over past eight years is that I am very weak. God has shown me over and over again His and love and His mercy and the sufficiency of His relentless and abounding grace.

I have no doubt that our Father’s Heart melts whenever one of his children cries out for help. I know that He loves to hold every one of us close to His chest in safety and comfort. I am confident that at other times He takes delight when His sons and daughters walk in the confidence of knowing that He right by their side without ever looking up. We need to have faith in Who He is, not in what He can do for us, or even worse, what we can do for ourselves.

I have wrestled with how to end this, and today I heard a song for very first time that ignited my heart and says it so well. The song is “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel Music. I leave you with a few of the words from this song.

“You make me brave

You make me brave

You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave

You make me brave

No fear can hinder now the love that made a way”

 

“cosmic christ” Voice of the Serpent

Chapter 1 – A Voice Cries Out

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There is one voice upon the earth that unites mankind and utters its lonely cry through many tongues. This voice comes forth from the deepest places of men’s souls, from hearts that long to know the answers to two questions. The first being “God are you out there?” The second being predicated on the answer to the first being yes, is “do you love me?” In other words, “am I okay, and do I dare to hope?” Many who cry this prayer know that the answer is yes and others dare not believe for fear of one more disappointment. They fear that it would undoubtedly be fatal rejection, like the schoolboy who never asks the girl he fancies to dance. Acknowledged or not, the cry is the same from every heart on earth.

We are created by a loving God who displays evidence of His existence in every direction that we look; in the warmth of the sun; in the beauty of a women or man; in the water cosmic-christ-cover-amazonHe provides for us to drink; in the wheat of the field that we eat; in the amazing workmanship of a single flower or in the miracle of sight. The heart that can look upon the beauty and complexity of the created world and deny that God exists is a heart that is afraid to believe, for the evidence is undeniable.

I wonder if there could be anything more beautiful to God than the soul that reaches towards Him in love. The soul that responds to His loving touch in worship, the soul that weighs the evidence and in his or her heart cries, “thank you” for the life that it has been given. God not only displays the evidence of His existence through His creation, but He also speaks to the hearts of humanity through His Spirit. People throughout the ages and in every corner of the Earth have responded to the beckoning call of God’s love to His creation. The response to this call can be seen in the evidence uncovered by archaeologists as they discover the ruins of ancient civilizations throughout the world. We can plainly see this response in our modern world. The cry is the same, “We hear you God and desire a relationship with You.” Our expressions are quite different, but the cry is the same. In Tibet they fly colorful flags in the wind, Native Americans call out to the Great Spirit, Muslims cry out daily in their mosques, Christians in their churches or cathedrals, and countless other expressions of love towards God are carried out daily throughout the world.

God has responded and continues to respond to every cry from every soul who has ever existed. He came to us in perfect humility in the form of a helpless baby named Jesus (Emmanuel). He came as a light into a dark and needful world. He stepped off of His throne and walked amongst His creation, knowing full well that the ones He loved would turn on Him in anger. He suffered an agonizing, shameful, death that He did not consider shameful, but as the way to redeem a fallen world unto Himself.

  1. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
  2. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

St. John 3:16-17

He laid down His life in perfect humility. Who would say to a man “Tie me to that post and whip my back until my flesh is torn from my bones because this is the way that I will heal you?” Who would say “Drive those spikes through my hands and my feet because I want you to spend eternity with me?” Who would say “Hang me upon a cross until I die because I so desperately want to forgive you of all of your sins?” The answer is One Who loves deeper than humanly possible.

Every human who has ever existed or ever will exist has shared in crucifying our Savior through our sin. We are all guilty of the Blood of Jesus Christ. The good news is that we are all saved through His sacrifice if we humble ourselves and meet him at the foot of the cross and accept our part, by repenting of our sins, and accepting Him as Lord and become washed by the Blood of His suffering.

This is the good news of the Gospel – A great light of hope has come into the world and has offered humanity a way of salvation. Those of us who have accepted Jesus at the foot of the cross and who are washed by His Blood have become bearers of the Light. Our part now is to go throughout the world and share this “Good News” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, illuminating a hurting world with Hope.

Jesus is the Truth, the Life, and the Way, and it is by no other that access to Heaven will be granted (Ephesians 14:16 paraphrased). No other has given enough, or could ever give enough to pay our debt: the innocent Blood for the wretched souls of mankind, the Humble for the proud, the Creator for His creation. There could be no way to Heaven other than through this Door that our loving Father in Heaven has opened in love, yet there are those who seek another way.

Why do many seek another way? Why isn’t Jesus enough? The answer is simple. Sin! Sin is what separates man from his or her loving Creator. The lie that separated humanity from our Father is still being perpetuated to this day. The lie that we can be like God. The lie that has been whispered in the ears of humanity throughout the ages – saying “God is trying to keep you from all of the goodness that this life has offer.” The lie that comes from the enemy of our souls that says, “Just look around at all of the fun that everyone else in the world is having. Why shouldn’t you have everything you want right now?”

How do we walk in sin and still find our way to Heaven when we die. One answer to this question is the “cosmic christ.” The teachers of the “cosmic christ” assert that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus were /are unnecessary. They assert that a loving God would not require the death of His Son as payment for the sins of humanity. The problem of sin has been solved by these teachers, they will tell you that “christ” was released into the earth at creation, that creation itself was the first “christ,” and that God released this “christ” back into the earth at the incarnation of Jesus.

Does this “cosmic christ” story sound familiar? For those who are students of the Bible it should sound very familiar. Let’s take a look at the first time this story of deception was told by the father of lies.

  1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
  2. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
  3. 3. but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
  4. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
  5. 5. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
  6. 6. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
  7. 7. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:1-7

Herein lies the most disturbing part of this deception. Adam and Eve walked in perfect union with God, and yet they fell for this deception. This lie has been whispered into the hearts and minds of humanity throughout the ages. This deception was originally perpetuated through Adam and Eve, the first to walk with God, and is now being perpetuated by those who are walking with God, through the Church.

God redeemed humanity from the effects of following after the lie of deception perpetuated in the Garden. God sent us His son Jesus out of Love. The way of salvation is so simply laid out before us, yet there are those who have chosen a lie over the truth.

  1. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

2 Peter 2:22

“cosmic christ” is now available in Paperback on Amazon.

cosmic-christ-cover-amazon

Mom & Dad – I Love You

Earlier this week I was blessed with having a little time to visit my folks in the Carolinas. I wanted to share a very special time that had I had with our Lord during that trip.

img_0752One of the side benefits of visiting my folks is that they live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. During the weeks leading up to my visit, I was excited about seeing my family and was also looking forward to taking a little bit of time to hike the Looking Glass Rock Trail in Pisgah National Forest. For those who have not been blessed with visiting Looking Glass Rock, it is a huge monolithic rock that sticks up over 1,700-feet from the forest floor. It is what I consider to be the Jewel of Pisgah National Forest.

The morning after my arrival I woke with the excitement of my morning hike. I ate breakfast with my mom and dad and headed out for the forest with the intentions of being back by noon, telling my mother that I would see her for lunch. I had hiked Looking Glass Rock Trail about 5-years ago and remembered that it was a fairly strenuous uphill trek, and I remembered it only being a couple of miles long.

On my way to the trail I calculated that if I spent an hour climbing the 2-mile ascent it would put me at the top at about 10:00, giving a 20 or 30 minutes to enjoy the view, and with a 45-minute return trip I would be back at the truck by 11:30 with time to spare, giving me 30 minutes to get back to my folks house for lunch – Piece of Cake!

looking-glass-rockWell, when I got to the trailhead, I learned that the trail was actually 3 miles long, all up hill. I almost decided to choose a different trail considering my time constraints, but something would not let me shrink from the challenge. On Florida flatland trails, 3 miles in one hour is not much of a personal challenge, but a 3-mile 1,700-hundred foot climb is something altogether different. I looked at the map on the trailhead kiosk and looked down at the clock on my phone and remember saying to myself, just before I commenced on my trek of insanity, “You got this!”

I scrambled to the top of the rock as fast as my body would take me, taking a few breaks here there just long enough to keep my heart from pounding out of my chest. One saving grace to this little trip was that it was only 25-degrees (Fahrenheit), but I still managed to soak a t-shirt, a long sleeved thermal shirt, sweatshirt and a jacket completely through. As anyone who has spent any time hiking in the mountains is well aware of from the beginning of this story, I had little chance of making it to the top in one hour, but I did make it in an hour and a half and my legs are still sore as I am writing this 3-days later.

img_0756I took a few pictures with my cell phone. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and I felt compelled to take 5 or 10-minits to sit and pray before heading back. As I was headed toward the truck, I had this overwhelming sense of urgency to get back. It wasn’t a sense that something was wrong, but a rather a sense that I needed to keep my word to my mother and father of being back in time for lunch. I found myself almost running at times. I wouldn’t doubt if some of the people passed who were coming up the trail may have been wondering why I was in such a hurry?

I was laughing to myself, “Here you are Bill, 51-years old and still having trouble getting home on time.” It brought me back to my teenage years, when I would stay out past my curfew, knowing all the way home that I would be in trouble and that there would be consequences. Typically I would lose my driving privileges or be grounded to the house for a week or two.

The reason for my hurry was something altogether different, however. I wasn’t anxious about getting back because I was afraid of being in trouble or somehow disappointing my parents; I was in a hurry to get back because I love my parents and I didn’t want to miss spending time with them. I enjoyed my time on the trail, but I wasn’t there to spend time in the woods. I was there to spend time with my parents.

As I get older, I am finding that there is nothing more important to me than spending time with the ones that I love. As I am sure many can relate, I am finding myself wanting to spend more time with my folks.

As a child, much of my concern in dealing with my parents was staying out of trouble and wanting to make them proud. Now I don’t view my parents as disciplinarians but as two people that I love more than I can express and honor them out of that love, not out of a fear of being trouble or somehow disappointing them.

My relationship with the Lord has changed in the same way. When I was younger, I viewed our Father in Heaven in as someone who I needed to please to keep out of the hot seat of Hell. Hell was very much the focus. I needed to straighten my life out and accept Jesus so I could go to Heaven.

Now that I am older I find chuckling to myself at how things have changed. I very seldom even think of Hell. I no longer spend time in prayer because I am worried that God will be mad at me if I don’t pray or out of a sense of obligation. I spend time with God because I want to spend time with the One I love more than anyone.

As we grow in the love of our Lord, Hell loses it grip on us, not because it has become any less serious, but because as we grow in the knowledge and understand of who God is we begin to understand that Hell has absolutely no place in our lives. We no longer strive to stay away from sin for fear of punishment, but because we no longer want there ever to be anything that will separate us from our Greatest Love.

Tree of Life – Chapter 3 of “cosmic christ”

 

The amazing thing about Sacred Scripture is that throughout, from the book Genesis to the book of Revelation the central unifying theme is Christ Jesus. He is the common thread that ties the Word of God into one cohesive message that we, all of humanity, have a Father Who passionately loves us and has made a way for us to return to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. He was in the beginning with God;
3. all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

St. John 1:1-5

Let us consider the events that took place in the Garden at the very beginning of biblical history. God created Adam and Eve, purely innocent of evil; they had absolutely no understanding of the death and corruption that would take place because of their disobedience. The serpent (snake), who we understand to be the devil, deceived Eve into believing that she could be like God if she ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He also convinced Eve that she would not “surely die” if she ate of the tree, as God told her would happen.

1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
2. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3. but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
4. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
5. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
7. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:1-7

Did Adam and Eve die when they ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? The answer is yes. They died spiritually. Man is created for the purpose of living in perfect union with God. Adam and Eve were created to be loved by and to love God. There are two truths that we need to understand as we move along. First – Eve was, as we are aware, perfectly content in her relationship with God when the snake planted a seed of distrust within her mind. This is the way our adversary operates. He plants seeds of distrust and separation into the minds of the faithful; this is nothing new. We as believers have been given specific and very clear direction as to how we are to worship and approach God.

Throughout the Church age (Catholic, Protestant & Orthodox) there have been voices of deception drumming in the ears, hearts, and minds of the faithful making assertions such as – “There is more to spirituality than just being obedient to God”; “There is so much more, look at what the Hindus and Buddhists are doing”; “Did God really say that Jesus is the only way to Heaven?” We could ask the question – why wasn’t God enough for Adam and Eve? Likewise, we should ask the Church – why isn’t Jesus enough?

We as the Church have the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, a perfect plan for salvation laid out before us and for some reason many feel that it is not enough. Our mission that is very clearly communicated to us by the Head of His Church, Jesus, is very simple; share the gospel with those lost in darkness, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the prisoners, comfort the sick, care for the widows – you know! – To do the stuff!

When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they did die. They died immediately. We need to take a very close look at verse 6.

6. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.

Genesis 3:6

“The tree was to be desired to make one wise.” The human desire for wisdom! We as humans have this very strong desire to know a little more than another. Most even take pride in knowing something more than one another. Look at the beginning of the verse – “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes.”

15. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.
17. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.

1 John 2:15-17

Eve, completely innocent, separated from Adam was exploring the Garden, and along comes the master of deception. Satan has had thousands of years to practice pretending to be something that he is not. Predators often hunt by separating their prey from the herd and quite often seek out the weakest (1 Peter 3:7). He has Eve right where he wants her. He entices her with a beautiful piece fruit and promises that if she eats of it that she will be as wise as God. He uses a partial truth, as deceivers do. They use part of a truth, or they twist what is right into something that looks very close to the real thing, but with close observation is nothing but a lie. We in our desire for what we want will jump right in with blinders, instead of being obedient to our Father because we think we know better.

The serpent told her in Genesis 3:5; “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He left out the part about not having the wisdom to understand good and evil. Knowing good and evil is not a bad thing, but they were to learn about good and evil in God’s perfect time. This is why the majority of us find trouble in this life – we jump ahead of God in His perfect timing.

We are called to obedience in this life, not to seek for wisdom or knowledge. I understand that this statement will not sit well with many, but just hang on and listen to what God is telling us through His word. If we cannot be trusted with the small things how can God trust us with the greater (St. Luke 16:10-13)? I understand that Jesus calls us to be “wise as serpents”, but let’s take a closer look at what He says in St. Mathew.

16. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
17. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues,
18. and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles.
19. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour;
20. for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

St. Matthew 10:16-20

Look at what Jesus is saying here. In verse 16 He tells the disciples that they are “as sheep.” What do we know about sheep? Yes – they are not very smart, nor are they known for their reasoning skills. Sheep need a Shepherd. He is not talking about wild mountain sheep here; He is talking about the type sheep that shepherds tend. Jesus is the Good Shepherd (St. John 10:11).

Simply understood, we are to be as sheep, not in seeking to outwit our advisory who is seeking to kill us like a wolf, but learn to listen to and follow our Shepherd in what He is doing. Jesus said of Himself; “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.”(St. John 5:19) Jesus leads by example. In St. John 3:14-15 Jesus compares Himself to the serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness. He is telling us to be wise like He is, not as the world. Jesus has not called us to be super spiritual or even super smart, but He is calling us to be completely faithful.

To understand how Jesus is referring to Himself as the serpent we need to take a look at the book of Numbers. The Children of Israel spoke against God and Moses, and against the Manna that God had provided for them as food (Numbers 21:5). God then sent “fiery serpents” to bite the Children of Israel as punishment for their sin of complaining against God. They then went to Moses and repented of their sins and God instructed Him to make a “bronze serpent” and lift it up upon a pole so that whoever looked upon the serpent would be saved from the death Numbers 7-9). The “bronze serpent” representing the sin of the Israelites was raised up, Just as Jesus became sin by taking upon Himself the sins of the world was lifted up upon the Cross taking the punishment for that sin of the world (2 Corinthians 2:21).

In chapter 3 of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus compares Himself to the serpent: “14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15. that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

Now let’s us take a look at what Jesus is communicating when He is telling the listeners to be as innocent as doves in verse 16 of chapter 10 of St. Matthews Gospel. To read this verse out of context would make this statement sound contradictory, but understanding that His statement about being as wise a serpent is an admonishment to be as He is, likewise so is He when He makes this statement. What do we know about doves? A dove, of course, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. A dove is also very gentle. If a dove perched on a branch next to a person, that person would most likely have a good feeling. Some may even reach out in words or even physically with a hand to communicate their pleasure at being visited by such a beautiful and tender creature. This would be very unlike our response if a vulture or hawk landed next to us, we may be intrigued, but we would most likely proceed with caution, if not shrink back with uncertainty.

Essential to understanding what Jesus was trying to communicate as He spoke of being as “innocent as doves” is that, in the mind of a Jew, a turtle dove, according to Old Testament Law (Leviticus 5:7), is one of the creatures that could be offered up as a sin offering; the dove being completely innocent of the sin for which it is being sacrificed. Jesus gave of Himself as the perfect sin offering. His blood was given, poured out as payment for the sins of all humanity, He being completely innocent.

We are to be like Jesus when the Jewish leaders accused him. He was not concerned with defending Himself, but in only speaking the Father’s words.

Jesus is filled with the Spirit of His Father in Heaven and is concerned only with being obedient to His will. This is the purpose for which God placed Jesus upon the Earth.

1. Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;
3. a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.

Isaiah 42:1-4

Let’s look at this section of scripture below from Gospel account St. Matthew that is a reference to what Isaiah wrote in Isaiah chapter 42. This is a reference to Jesus. He had just healed a man on the Sabbath and knew that the Pharisees were taking counsel “against Him.” He did not stand and confront His accusers, but “withdrew” from the area. Matthew inserts the following verses into the text to explain the unnatural behavior of our Lord. Jesus’ concern was not in justifying Himself, but in the ultimate justification of others. Jesus focused on the Fathers will, not being distracted by the need to be right.

17. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
18. “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will any one hear his voice in the streets;
20. he will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick, till he brings justice to victory; 21 and in his name will the Gentiles hope.”

St. Matthew 12:17-20

Notice that in verse 18 that the profit, speaking in the voice of God, says, “I will put my spirit upon Him.” It is by the spirit of God that Jesus is walking. Jesus is not concerned with proving that He is right. He is not puffed up with religious pride, but filled with the Holy Spirit.

Consider Eve as she walked through the Garden. Do you think she was as “gentle as a dove?” Of course, she was. She, up until that point had been walking in pure love with the Father. She knew nothing of religious pride or the deception of the enemy, but she was not as wise as a serpent. She did not first consider what her Father, God, would want her to do. She, being caught up in the moment of deception disregarded what her Father had instructed her so that she could fulfill the desires of her own will.

Let’s look at this deception compared to the “cosmic christ” deception. Satan offered Eve the ability to be like God. Those who offer the “cosmic christ” will tell you that God is in everything, that all we need to do is unlock our inner “god,” and that we are all Christ. They say that all of Creation is Christ.

1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
2. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3. but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
4. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
5. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-5

Take a hard, honest look here; the voice is the same as the voice that calls the faithful to believe in the “cosmic christ.” “Did God really say that Jesus was The Christ, or is He a ‘christ?’” Did God, through His Word, really say that Jesus was the only way to Heaven? The answers have not changed either. Yes, Jesus is the Only Christ, a title that we can only claim as our own if we as believers are seated in Him as our Lord. Yes, Jesus is the only way to Heaven. And, Yes, God did say that Eve would die if she ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

1. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
3. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
6. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

Colossians 3:1-6

Look at verse 4, the text plainly communicates that we who are in Christ will appear in Him. St. Paul communicates that this Christ “is our Life.” Who is “Him” in this verse? “Him” is Jesus, by whom all people are saved (Acts 4:12).

What is it to be spiritually dead? Do our spirits die? No – our spirits do not die, they live on forever. God created us as eternal beings as He is eternal. To live is to be with God in eternity – to enter into Glory which is the Father’s habitation. To die spiritually is to be separated from God.

Let’s take a look at the way that this separation is communicated in Scripture:

7. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
8. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:7-8

They were naked, and once the eyes of their understanding of what they had done they became ashamed of themselves and hid from God.

We are created for espousal – to be married. When we are espoused to someone, we become one flesh. As the Church, we believe that there are only two vocations. One is a religious vocation in which a person is unmarried to another person, but is considered to be married to God In Christ. We live a “martyred” life, dead to the world but alive in Christ Jesus. Our other vocation is to be married to another person. When we are married to someone, we are considered to be one flesh in Christ (St. Mark 10:8). When married and in Christ, we are also considered to be dead to this life and espoused to God, but as one flesh.

We are at complete liberty to be naked before our wives or husbands, but we are not at liberty to be naked before any other of the opposite sex. Contrary to the understanding of the world we are to be modestly dressed in the presence of the opposite sex. After Adam and Eve sinned they were no longer espoused to God, therefore, having eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, understood the shame of their actions. Their espousal was broken, and they were separated spiritually from God.

Sin always separates us from God. When we are walking in sin, we do not turn our eyes towards God in confident obedience.

17. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17

When we are alive in Christ, figuratively speaking, we are looking straight at God, heads lifted towards Heaven bathing in the light of His Love. When we are walking in sin, our eyes are diverted from Heaven, and our heads are “turned” from His gaze as our faces are cast in “shadow.”

God had mercy on their shame and made them skins from animals to cover their nakedness. Sin and death entered into the world. An animal was killed to cover the nakedness and shame of their sin.

21. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

St. Paul clearly ties Adam and Jesus together. Adam being the first physical son of God, and Jesus being the first spiritual (begotten – St. John 3:16)) Son of God.

45. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.
46. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual.
47. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:45-46

Lets take a few minutes to look into the way the scripture ties together Adam & Eve, and Jesus & Mary:

Disobedience & Obedience:

Eve was deceived by the serpent and gave Adam the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Mary was obedient to God and gave to the world the Fruit of the Tree of Life.

Nakedness:

Adam was naked in the Garden when he sinned and ate of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Jesus was naked upon a Cross and took upon Himself the sin of the world.

God Clothes Humanity:

God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals to cover their nakedness. Blood was shed to cover the shame of their sin.

Jesus was sacrificed on a Cross so we could be cleansed by his blood and clothed in the spiritual garments of righteousness.

Access to the Tree of Life:

When Adam and Eve through disobedience ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they were cut from access to the Garden of Eden where within grew the Tree of Life.

24. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24

Jesus through obedience poured out his blood so we could freely eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

13. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

Revelation 22:13-14

Notice that God brings us back to the Tree of Life in the very last chapter of his inerrant word. This is where we find the truth that dispels one of the biggest lies of the “cosmic christ” teaching. The folks who push this belief will tell you that the crucifixion of Jesus was unnecessary and that God would never have required that His Son be killed. They will go on to say that only a mean, hateful God would require death as payment for sin. Another way they will try to spin the argument is that they will say that Jesus gave His life out of love, but that God did not require His sacrifice.

16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

St. John 3:16

The verse above is without question the most quoted verse by Christians in all of Scripture. God very clearly through the pen of St. John states that “He gave His only Son.” Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing (St. John 5:19).

Jesus was completely obedient to the will of His Father in Heaven.

 

41. And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
42. “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
43. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling upon the ground.

St. Luke 22:41-44

Do not ever let anyone minimize the pain and agony that Jesus went through for us through His obedience to our Father. Jesus was in agony at the thought of what He was about to go through on the Cross. He even asked the Father if there was any other way (St. Matthew 26:39). God sent Him an angel to strengthen Him (St. Luke 22:43). His sweat became “like great drops of blood (St. Luke 22:44).” Be very clear in your understanding that what Jesus went through was real, it was painful beyond comprehension, and it was only accomplished out of obedience.

Don’t let anybody tell you that the Blood of Jesus is not necessary for our salvation.

Available Soon 

cosmic-christ-cover-wordpress

Slight of Hand

Most have attended a “magic show” where a “magician” will make a coin or a small ball disappear and then re-appear in an odd spot like behind someone’s ear or in their pocket. Most are aware that the magicians performing these amazing tricks are not magicians at all, but slight of hand artists. They learn to make things disappear or reappear by using mirrors or with the art of using diversions to take the watcher’s eyes off of the subject.

This type of trickery is alive and well, and being practiced on the minds of the faithful. There is teaching that seems to be gaining ground amongst the faithful in the “cosmic christ”. As we discussed in the last post, this is a belief that Jesus was not “the” Christ but one who was evidence of “christ” being released on the earth. The teachers of this belief will say that Christ was not Jesus’ last name and that we are all Christ (the anointed of God). To further confuse the issue they proclaim Creation as being the first “christ.”

Fr. Richard Rohr, the founder of the “Center for Action and Contemplation” in an interview with Msgr. Walter Nolen, the pastor of St. Paul’s Church in Princeton, New Jersey had a few interesting things to say about Christ. This interview can be found on YouTube and appears to be produced by the Catholic Corner.

Fr. Rohr makes the following statements:

“The big bang was the birth of the ‘christ’.”

 “The first ‘body of christ’ was creation itself.”

 “God is liberating and loving through everything that God created.”

What he is asserting is that salvation is handed down through a divine spark that travels through the collective energy of creation.

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life,” 2.3.4.1. …the human person. The Vatican released this document in 2003, addressing the issue of “New Age Spirituality” being wrongly promoted from within the Church, and was published as a 90-page booklet titled “A Christian Reflection of the New Age.”

“In what might be termed a classical New Age account, people are born with a divine spark, in a sense which is reminiscent of ancient Gnosticism; this links them into the unity of the Whole. So they are seen as essentially divine, although they participate in this cosmic divinity at different levels of consciousness. We are co- creators, and we create our own reality. Many New Age authors maintain that we choose the circumstances of our lives (even our own illness and health), in a vision where every individual is considered the creative source of the universe. But we need to make a journey in order fully to understand where we fit into the unity of the cosmos. The journey is psychotherapy, and the recognition of universal consciousness is salvation. There is no sin; there is only imperfect knowledge. The identity of every human being is diluted in the universal being and in the process of successive incarnations. People are subject to the determining influences of the stars, but can be opened to the divinity which lives within them, in their continual search (by means of appropriate techniques) for an ever greater harmony between the self and divine cosmic energy. There is no need for Revelation or Salvation which would come to people from outside themselves, but simply a need to experience the salvation hidden within themselves (self-salvation), by mastering psycho- physical techniques which lead to definitive enlightenment.”

This belief in a “cosmic Christ” is nothing new; it is akin to Gnosticism and has been around for thousands of years. The statement that Christ is not the last name of Jesus is absolutely true. This is where deception is most dangerous – when truth is used with a twist. When a counterfeiter replicates currency they reproduce that currency as close to the real thing as possible. They do not place a picture of Daffy Duck on a twenty-dolor bill. No, they make it as close to the real thing as possible.

Christ is not the last name of Jesus, and most people shake their heads in an up and down motion of affirmation when they hear this being said. The “cosmic christ” proponents say that the word Christ signifies that God’s anointing rests on Jesus. Of course, this is true because Christ means “The Anointed One”, and if that is the definition, we must all be Christ because all that are saved are anointed by God. Also very true – all who are in Christ are anointed by God and can rightfully claim the title of Christ.

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life,” 2.3.4.2 …God?:

“When it is consciously received by men and women, “divine energy” is often described as “Christic energy”. There is also talk of Christ, but this does not mean Jesus of Nazareth. “Christ” is a title applied to someone who has arrived at a state of consciousness where he or she perceives him- or herself to be divine and can thus claim to be a “universal Master”. Jesus of Nazareth was not the Christ, but simply one among many historical figures in whom this “Christic” nature is revealed, as is the case with Buddha and others. Every historical realisation of the Christ shows clearly that all human beings are heavenly and divine, and leads them towards this realisation.”

Here is the twist, or should I say, the untwisting. Christ is not just the description of the anointing that rests on Jesus. It is His title! He is “The Christ”, the Anointed One. This title is singular – He is the only Christ. We are saved by the name of Jesus who is “the” Christ. Jesus was not just another person anointed by God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit directly within the womb of the Virgin Mary. Some will try to say that Jesus did not receive the anointing of God before John the Baptist, baptized Him. Remember that John the Baptist leaped while He was still in the womb of Elizabeth, when our mother Mary came into Elizabeth’s presence. John did not leap because of Mary, but because Jesus was present within her womb (Luke 1:44).

“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, 

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.”

 Paragraph 2 – The Nicene Creed

Look that the quote above. This is the second paragraph of the Nicene Creed typically recited during the Catholic mass. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.” When I first became a Catholic, this part of the creed would get stuck in my throat. As a Protestant, I understood that I was in Jesus Christ in my mind. It took reciting this statement many times before this truth began to settle in my heart. When I first read this statement, I actually would think “where does that leave us if Jesus is the only Son of God.” Yes, the answer is obvious, that leaves us “in Christ.” I knew the answer to the question, in my mind, the first time I read this statement, but for some reason, it just bothered me. I am sure that many Protestants grasp this truth; I was just not one of them.

When I think back to my being uncomfortable with this statement, my issue may have been because it somehow made me feel very vulnerable. I think most people like to think of themselves as being independent – able to take care of themselves. We are completely dependent on Jesus. He is the Christ. Many say that Christians use Jesus as a crutch. This truth makes Jesus much more than a crutch; it makes Him our very life. Without Jesus we are nothing more than like a blade of grass that grows for a very short period, dies, and is forgotten forever in the wind (1 Peter 1:24).

This section of the creed also describes Jesus as being “light from light.” In the interview discussed above, Fr. Richard Rohr asserts that that in Genesis chapter 1, verse 3, when it reads, “And God said ‘let there be light,’” that God is referring to the first “christ.”

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Salvation,” 2.3.4.3 …the world?:

“The move from a mechanistic model of classical physics to the “holistic” one of modern atomic and sub-atomic physics, based on the concept of matter as waves or energy rather than particles, is central to much New Age thinking. The universe is an ocean of energy, which is a single whole or a network of links. The energy animating the single organism which is the universe is “spirit”. There is no alterity between God and the world.”

Richard Rohr furthers displays that he misunderstands the Scripture by asserting that this is that same light that St. John is referring to in the first chapter of his gospel. The “New Age” crowd equates the “christ” as being the life energy of creation. Their eyes are blinded to the truth that St. John is referring to the light as our “hope” not the life force of the planet. Let’s compare these two sections of Scripture.

3. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

 4. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

5. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

 Genesis 1:3-5

 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2. He was in the beginning with God;

 3. all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

 7. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.

 8. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

 9. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.

 St. John 1:1-9

In verse 3 of the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John above the Apostle very clearly states, “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Christ is coeternal with the Father. God did not create Christ on the first day. In Genesis when God says “let there be light” God is referring to physical light that He spoke into existence through the Christ, as Scripture so plainly states. I don’t claim to understand how God created the Earth and all that it contains through His Son the Christ. Nobody understands this mystery. That’s what makes it a mystery. This is one of those things that we need to believe by faith.

Let’s take a look at what St. Peter said when being questioned by the Sanhedrin (Jewish Leaders). This was soon after the Apostles were filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room.

8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders:

9. If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved,

 10. then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed.

 11. He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’

 12. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

 Acts 4:8-12

Not only does St. Peter use the name “Christ”, he narrows it down to say that “of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified.” St. Peter could not get much more specific.

Now that we are clear on how St. Peter felt about Jesus being “the” Christ, let us take a look at what St. Paul has to say on the subject.

17. For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.

 Romans 5:17

St. Paul is very clear that he believes that “justification” comes through “one person Jesus Christ.” This sounds very different from what the folks teaching about the “cosmic christ” would like for us to believe. They would like for us to believe that creation was the first “christ.” No – the Earth was created “in” Christ.

13. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

 14. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 15.He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

 16. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.

 17. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 18. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in all things he himself might be preeminent.

19. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,

20. and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.

 Colossians 1:13-20

Again, Jesus was not just a man who received the anointing of God; He is the Anointing of God. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive Him. He is the anointing. “All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Let’s now see what Jesus says about Himself:

6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 St. John 14:6

5. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

 6. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.

 St. John 15:5-6

48. I am the bread of life.

 49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

 50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.

 51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

 52. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

 53. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

 54. he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

 55. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

 56. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

 57. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

 58. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

 59. This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um.

 St. John 6:48-59

The Apostle John gives very clear testimony in his gospel that Jesus proclaimed that He is the only way to Heaven. Not only does St. John record that Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me”, but further on in Chapter 6 he writes that “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

Jesus gives a further explanation during the Last Supper of His claim of being the Bread of Life (Luke 22:19). We will work through this claim in much further detail in as we move along. Understanding that Jesus as the Bread of Life will help us to see the “cosmic christ” deception more clearly.

Jesus is the only way to Heaven:

3. This is good and pleasing to God our savior,

 4. who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

 5. For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human,

 6. who gave himself as ransom for all.

1 Timothy 2:3-6