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Category: Theology
Read Time: 3 mins
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One man and one woman

The Scripture says:

(Gen. 2:24, NASB)

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh"

That verse provides the biblical pattern for gender, sexuality and family relationships. It has been programmed into the DNA of the human race. Yet today a growing number of people who dismiss the Bible as myth are demanding that our culture exchange God's fundamental truths for a lie. And some mainline churches, swayed by secularist pressure, are opening their altars for same-sex weddings because they don't want to be viewed as intolerant prudes.

J. Lee Grady

My belief is exactly this, that marriage/Holy Matrimony is for one man and one woman.
Oh, but some might say this is completely not biblical, many men in the bible had multiple women. Yes this is true but besides not being accepted in society it is also what the Apostle Paul said about this in his letter to Timothy

1 Timothy 3:2 (CJB)

“A congregation leader must be above reproach, he must be faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, orderly, hospitable and able to teach. “

 

Also we read in Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)

 

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.”

 

It does not speak in words of plurality but in the singular form of wife.

 

Man Woman ChildAlso, the words of Genesis as discussed earlier say “ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife” It does not say wives, but again singular wife.
All these verses speak of man and woman.
The Bible says about other situations

 

Leviticus 18:22-23 (AMP)

 

“You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 Neither shall you lie with any beast and defile yourself with it; neither shall any woman yield herself to a beast to lie with it; it is confusion, perversion, and degradedly carnal.”

 

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (CEB)

“ Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same-sex intercourse, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom.”

 

Romans 1:26-28 (CEB)

That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females traded natural sexual relations for unnatural sexual relations. 27 Also, in the same way, the males traded natural sexual relations with females, and burned with lust for each other. Males performed shameful actions with males, and they were paid back with the penalty they deserved for their mistake in their own bodies. 28 Since they didn’t think it was worthwhile to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to a defective mind to do inappropriate things.”

 

"The path to overcoming sins, including those of homosexuality and sexual impurity, whether they manifest physically, spiritually, or emotionally, lies in the transformative power of confession and repentance. In Christian doctrine, repentance is more than mere regret or a superficial change; it is a profound and complete turning away from sin, a 180-degree turn towards a new way of life under God's guidance.
Jesus casted out a legion of daemons into the swine and healed the paraplegic.
He will certainly be able to heal those and forgive those who are caught up in sexual sin as lust, immorality and abominations.
We need to welcome all sinners in the house of God, providing them a way out of sin into a life of Christ and Holiness.

 

 

Category: Theology
Read Time: 19 mins
Hits: 9575

Holy Matrimony

In addressing the profound distinction between Holy Matrimony and marriage, it is essential to delve into the spiritual and theological underpinnings that differentiate these two concepts. Holy Matrimony, as we discern from the scripture readings during its sacramental celebration, is an institution where God's sovereignty is paramount. It is not merely a union of two individuals but a sacred covenant in which God is an active participant. This divine involvement bestows upon the couple a unique status akin to a “domestic church,” where their union is built upon a foundation of godly love and commitment, transcending the mere legalities of a civil contract. The State's role in this sacred union is limited to that of a registrar, acknowledging the union without imparting any spiritual authority over it.
As we will hear throughout the scripture readings during the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony God is always in control, in one, but not necessarily in the other.
Holy Matrimony confers on each couple a status like that of a “domestic church” built on a foundation of love over which the State has no authority beyond that of merely a registrar.

In contrast, when we consider marriage in its civil context, as highlighted in the March 1873 issue of The Atlantic, it is primarily viewed as a civic arrangement.
Concerning marriage we read the following in the march 1873 issue of the Atlantic;

Marriage, in its obvious import, is a civic tie, enforced by the magistrate in the interest of public order. I, for example, A B, am a married man, entitled therefore to certain civic rights, such as the right to found a family, or call my children my own; and exposed, on the other hand, to certain civic pains, in case of my conjugal unworthiness, such as the breaking up of my family, or the separation of my wife and children from my care and authority, followed by the alienation of a portion of my worldly goods to their exclusive benefit.

This perspective of marriage emphasizes its societal and legal dimensions. It is described as a civic tie, enforced by the magistrate to maintain public order. Here, the individual, identified in the example as A B, is seen as a married person with certain civic rights and responsibilities. These include the right to establish a family and claim parental rights over children, balanced by the potential civic repercussions in cases of conjugal failure, such as family dissolution or separation from spouse and children, accompanied by financial consequences.

This civil view of marriage focuses on the legalistic aspects, treating it as a contract governed by civic laws and devoid of any inherent establishment of moral and spiritual values. It lacks the deeper, spiritual dimension that Holy Matrimony embodies, where the union is not only a matter of earthly legalities but a sacred covenant under God's guidance and blessing. In Holy Matrimony, the couple embarks on a journey not just of mutual companionship but of spiritual growth and fulfillment, guided by divine principles and enriched by a commitment that transcends earthly laws. This sacred union is a testament to the belief that marriage, in its highest form, is a divine institution, blessed and overseen by God, where love, faith, and commitment are nurtured in accordance with His will and purpose.


The following text is an abstract from an external source;

Virgil Cooper's story reveals a lot of the legalistics of the marriage license.
While in a discussion with a county clerk it was stated that for instance in the state of Arizona.
The marriage licensing is pretty much the same in the other states -- but there are differences.
One significant difference he mentioned was that Arizona is one of eight western states that are Community Property states.
The other states are Common Law states, including Utah, with the exception of Lousiana which is a Napoleonic Code state.

He then explained some of the technicalities of the marriage license.
STATE MARRIAGE CONTRACTHe said, first of all, the marriage license is Secular Contract between 3 parties: the State, the husband, and the wife.
The State is the principal party in that Secular Contract.
The husband and wife are secondary or inferior parties.
The Secular Contract is a three-way contract between the State, as Principal, and the husband and wife as the other two legs of the Contract.

The Clerk said, in the "traditional" sense a marriage is a covenant between the husband and wife and God.
But in the Secular Contract with the state, the reference to God is not officially considered included in the Secular Contract at all.
The Clerk said, if the husband and wife wish to include God as a party in their marriage, that is a "dotted line" the spouses will have to add in their own minds.
The state's marriage license is "strictly secular," the Clerk said.

The Clerk said further, that what he meant by the relationship to God being a "dotted line" meant that the State regards any mention of God as irrelevant, even meaningless.
In the clerk's description of the marriage license contract, he related one other "dotted line."

He said in the traditional religious context, marriage was a covenant between the husband and wife and God with husband and wife joined as One.
This is not the case in the secular realm of the state's marriage license contract.
The State is the Principal or dominant party.
The husband and wife are merely contractually "joined" as business partners, not in any religious union.
The spouses are, the Clerk said, connected to each other by another "dotted line."

The picture the Clerk was trying to paint was that of a triangle with the State at the top and a solid line extending from the apex, the State, down the left side to the husband, and a separate solid line extending down the right side to the wife.
The dotted line between the husband and wife merely showing that they consider themselves to have entered into a religious union of some sort that is irrelevant to the State.

The Clerk further mentioned that this religious overtone is recognized by the State by requiring that the marriage must be solemnized either by a state official or by a minister of religion who has been deputized by the State to perform the marriage ceremony and make a return of the signed and executed marriage license to the State.
The clerk emphasized that this contractual consideration by the bride and groom places them in a definite and defined-by-law position inferior and subject to the State.
The Clerk commented that very few people realize this.

The clerk also said that it is very important to understand that children born to the marriage are considered by law as "the contract bearing fruit" -- meaning the children primarily belong to the State, even though the law never comes out and says so in so many words, the judges and social workers act on the assumption that the state controls the children.

Abstract from www.yhvh.name

Christ's life is the epitome of sacrificial love, a love that goes beyond mere feelings or emotions. It is a love that serves, sacrifices, and sanctifies. This is the kind of love that should be the cornerstone of every Christian marriage. It is a love that reflects Christ's love for the Church—a love that is selfless, unconditional, and redemptive.

In the context of marriage, when we speak of consuming each other's love, we are referring to more than just a physical union. It is a profound spiritual and emotional connection that, in God's eyes, constitutes marriage. This consummation is not merely a physical act; it is the culmination of a covenant, a sacred agreement between partners, made in the presence of God. It signifies the two becoming one flesh, as stated in Genesis 2:24, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

Genesis 2:22-25 (ESV)

“And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 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.24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Holy matrimony125 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

This biblical principle of a man leaving his parents and cleaving to his wife underscores the depth and permanence of the marital bond. It is a transition from one primary human relationship to another, signifying the establishment of a new family unit under God's ordinance. In this union, the husband and wife are called to support, respect, and cherish each other, reflecting the unity and love that is found in Christ.

In reflecting upon the biblical narrative of Adam and Eve, we gain insight into the original design and intent of marriage as ordained by God. Indeed, in the Garden of Eden, there were no human institutions, such as the church or state, to officiate or validate the union between Adam and Eve. Their union was inherently recognized and blessed by God, establishing the foundational principle of marriage as a divine institution.

This understanding brings us to a crucial point: the act of sexual union, within the Christian worldview, is not merely a physical act but a spiritual and covenantal one. It is the consummation and sealing of a sacred bond—Holy Matrimony—as instituted by God. In this context, the sexual union between a man and a woman is seen as the physical manifestation of their commitment and covenant before God, effectively solidifying their marital bond.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

When a couple enters into marriage, they are indeed entering into a contract with each other, but also with the state. The marriage license, issued by governmental authorities, is a legal document that formally recognizes the union. This legal recognition carries with it certain rights, responsibilities, and benefits that are conferred upon the married couple by the state. These may include, but are not limited to, tax benefits, inheritance rights, and decision-making privileges in healthcare and financial matters.

 In Holy Matrimony, the couple dedicates their lives to each other, but importantly, they also dedicate their united life to God. This dedication is a recognition that their union is not merely for their mutual comfort and happiness but is also intended to serve a higher, divine purpose. It is an acknowledgment that their marriage is a reflection of God's love and is to be guided by His principles and teachings.

The role of the church and the pastor in the celebration of Holy Matrimony is significant. When a couple chooses to marry in the church, they are seeking God's blessing and acknowledging His sovereignty over their union. The pastor, representing the church, performs the rite of Holy Matrimony, not just as a ceremonial leader but as a witness to the covenant being made before God. In this sacred setting, the marriage is declared to be of God, with the pastor affirming the couple's commitment to a Christ-centered relationship.

The imagery of the three-stranded cord, with Christ at the center, is a powerful metaphor drawn from Ecclesiastes 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." This verse beautifully symbolizes the strength and resilience of a marriage that includes Christ as its core. In such a union, the couple is not only bound to each other but is also intertwined with Christ, creating a relationship that is fortified and enriched by His presence and guidance.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (CEB)

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. 10 If either should fall, one can pick up the other. But how miserable are those who fall and don’t have a companion to help them up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can stay warm. But how can anyone stay warm alone? 12 Also, one can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.”

It is very important to note that this is not a relationship that can be entered if not both husband and wife are confessing to be Christians because 2 Corinthians 6:14 says that believers should not marry unbelievers:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

Likewise, unless at least one of the parties are Christians, the marriage is according to the Psalms doomed to failure:

Psalm 127:1, (NKJV)

"Unless the Lord builds the house [or the family], they labor in vain who build it [with the state or a marriage license]."

A Christ-based Holy Matrimony has always been a joyous occasion. In Cana of Galilee, it was gladdened by the presence and blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Because God intended marriage to bring joy and blessings to your lives.

Ephesians 5:21-28 (KJV)

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Holy Matrimony is;

Where we love, as Christ loves the Church.
Where we protect, as Christ protects His Church.
Where we care, as Christ cares for His Church.
Where we serve, as Christ has served for His Church.
Where we obey, because we know that Christ loves His bride.
Where we individually might be weak, but through Christ we can do All Things.

In Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul writes,

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

This passage vividly illustrates the depth of Christ's love for the Church and sets a profound example of the love and commitment expected in a Christian marriage.

In the context of Holy Matrimony, the vows made by the groom and the bride are indeed reflective of this divine love and commitment. The groom is called to love and comfort his bride, to honor and keep her in all circumstances, and to preserve the sanctity of their bond, which is holy and unbroken. This commitment mirrors Christ's unwavering love and sacrifice for the Church. Similarly, the bride is asked to love and comfort her groom, to honor and keep him, and to maintain the sacredness of their union through all of life's joys and sorrows. These vows are not mere words; they are solemn promises that echo the covenantal relationship between Christ and the Church.

The mutual respect and love pledged in these vows are foundational to a Christian marriage. They are committed to journeying together in faith, supporting and uplifting each other, and growing together in spiritual unity. The bond of marriage, thus, is not only a personal and emotional connection but also a spiritual covenant that is nurtured and strengthened by the couple's shared faith in Christ.


In which a Christian groom is able to his bride to love her with all his heart's affection and to endow her with all his earthly possessions, giving her all the honor of his name and to share with her the grace of the Lord God Almighty upon his life.
The bride would be able to make this wonderful promise from the book of Ruth

Ruth 1:16b (CEB)

“Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

Proverbs 31 describes a woman of noble character, (Proverbs 31 Woman) who is industrious, compassionate, wise, and deeply committed to the well-being of her household and community. She is a symbol of strength, dignity, and fearlessness in the face of the future, grounded in her faith and trust in God. Similarly, a godly man in the context of marriage is one who leads with love, integrity, and wisdom, reflecting Christ's love and sacrifice for the Church.

In such a union, where both partners are committed to living out these biblical principles, the relationship becomes a fertile ground for spiritual growth and blessings. This is not to suggest a life devoid of challenges, but rather a life where challenges are met with faith, resilience, and a deep-seated assurance in God's providence and guidance.

The phrase "Blessings from the Lord WILL rain down on this" captures the essence of the promise found in Scripture for those who live according to God's will and design. It is a recognition that when a marriage is rooted in and revolves around God's principles, it aligns with His purposes and is positioned to receive His blessings. These blessings may manifest in various forms – spiritual growth, deeper love and understanding, resilience in trials, and a profound sense of joy and peace that transcends circumstances.

This understanding of marriage as a covenant with God at its center is not just a contractual obligation; it is a journey of faith, love, and mutual edification. It is about building a life together that honors God, serves others, and reflects the beauty and depth of God's design for marriage. In this sacred partnership, both the godly man and the Proverbs 31 woman are not only able to grow individually in their walk with God but also collectively as they build a legacy that glorifies God and bears witness to His grace and love in their lives.

 

Category: Theology
Read Time: 10 mins
Hits: 9631

Homosexuality and sexual purity

"In our contemporary society, there is a significant discourse surrounding the topic of homosexuality, often leading to diverse and sometimes conflicting interpretations. However, as a pastor dedicated to the teachings of the Bible, I find it imperative to clarify the scriptural stance on this matter, which I believe is often misrepresented or misunderstood in public discourse.

The Holy Scriptures, which I uphold with deep reverence, address the subject of homosexuality on several occasions. Each instance within the sacred texts is consistent in its message: such practices are viewed as contrary to the divine will. This perspective is not born of judgment or disdain but is a reflection of the scriptural teachings that guide our faith.

 

The Bible doesn't speak of homosexuality very often, but when it does, it condemns it as sin.

 

Leviticus 20:13 (CEB)

“If a man has sexual intercourse with a man as he would with a woman, the two of them have done something detestable. They must be executed; their blood is on their own heads.”

 

Leviticus 18:22-23 (AMP)

 

“You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 Neither shall you lie with any beast and defile yourself with it; neither shall any woman yield herself to a beast to lie with it; it is confusion, perversion, and degradedly carnal.”

 

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (CEB)

“ Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same-sex intercourse, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom.”

 

 

Romans 1:26-28 (CEB)

That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females traded natural sexual relations for unnatural sexual relations. 27 Also, in the same way, the males traded natural sexual relations with females, and burned with lust for each other. Males performed shameful actions with males, and they were paid back with the penalty they deserved for their mistake in their own bodies. 28 Since they didn’t think it was worthwhile to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to a defective mind to do inappropriate things.”

Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Bible.

From the Genesis narrative, we understand that God's design in creation was purposeful, creating Adam and Eve as man and woman. This design was not only for companionship but also for the fulfillment of God's command to populate and steward the earth. In this context, the practice of homosexuality is seen as diverging from this divine blueprint, particularly in its departure from the traditional family structure and the natural means of procreation.

Moreover, the Bible speaks of a profound spiritual consequence for those who engage in homosexual acts. It suggests that such actions lead to a spiritual hardening, a state where individuals may become desensitized to their departure from God's commands. This is not a condemnation from a place of superiority, but a somber warning from a place of concern for spiritual well-being.

Romans 1:26-27

 

"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error,"

 

"So, it is observed in the scriptural narrative that the advocacy for lifestyles such as homosexuality is not merely a personal choice but extends into the realm of influencing others. This influence is perceived not just as a deviation from individual morality but as a challenge to the collective adherence to biblical teachings. It is important to understand this within the context of Christian doctrine, which views such actions as not only personal decisions but as having broader spiritual implications.

In discussing these matters, it is paramount to remember that the Christian message is one of redemption and hope. Our faith teaches that all have sinned and are in need of God's saving grace. This includes not only those who engage in homosexual acts but every person who has ever lived, save Christ alone. The Bible teaches that the consequence of sin, in its myriad forms, is separation from God. This separation, if unaddressed, leads to eternal separation from God, which is often referred to as damnation.

However, it is crucial to underscore that this is not the end of the story. The central message of Christianity is that Jesus Christ came to bridge this gap. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He offers forgiveness and the promise of eternal life with God. This gift of grace is available to all who believe in Him and turn away from their sinful live (repent), regardless of their past actions or lifestyle.

 

Romans 1:32 (AMP)

 

“Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.”

 

This brings us to a sensitive and often misunderstood point: the question of the eternal destiny of those who identify as gay or lesbian. According to biblical teachings, the same criteria apply to all individuals, regardless of their specific sins. Salvation is not about the severity of one's past transgressions but about one's relationship with Christ. Those who repent and trust in Jesus are forgiven and saved, while those who reject His offer of salvation face eternal separation from God.

Does this then mean that all gays and lesbians will go to hell, well, Yes, just like every other sinner!!!
It is important to address the broader topic of sexual immorality, which the Bible speaks about extensively. Sexual sin, in its various forms, is consistently portrayed in Scripture as contrary to God's design and harmful to human flourishing. This includes but is not limited to homosexuality. As Christians, we are called to uphold these teachings, not out of a sense of moral superiority, but out of a commitment to the truth as we understand it and a genuine concern for the well-being of others.

 

Hebrews 13:4 (CEB)

“Marriage must be honored in every respect, with no cheating on the relationship, because God will judge the sexually immoral person and the person who commits adultery.”

 

 

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (AMP)

“For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, 4 That each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, 5 Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will,”

 

 

Matthew 5:28 (CEB)

 

“But I say to you that every man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart.”

 

 

1 Corinthians 6:13-20 (CEB)

Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, and yet God will do away with both. The body isn’t for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 God has raised the Lord and will raise us through his power. 15 Don’t you know that your bodies are parts of Christ? So then, should I take parts of Christ and make them a part of someone who is sleeping around? No way! 16 Don’t you know that anyone who is joined to someone who is sleeping around is one body with that person? The scripture says, The two will become one flesh. 17 The one who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. 18 Avoid sexual immorality! Every sin that a person can do is committed outside the body, except those who engage in sexual immorality commit sin against their own bodies. 19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? 20 You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.”

 

"The path to overcoming sins, including those of homosexuality and sexual impurity, whether they manifest physically, spiritually, or emotionally, lies in the transformative power of confession and repentance. In Christian doctrine, repentance is more than mere regret or a superficial change; it is a profound and complete turning away from sin, a 180-degree turn towards a new way of life under God's guidance.

This concept of repentance is central to the Christian message. It's not about partial amendments or gradual shifts in behavior; it's about a total and unequivocal renunciation of actions and attitudes that are contrary to God's will. This kind of repentance is powerful and life-changing. It's not just a turning away from sin, but also a turning towards God, embracing His ways and His truth.

 

 

Category: Theology
Read Time: 14 mins
Hits: 11570

The Covenants

In our exploration of faith and the immutable nature of God's Word, we have established that the Word of God remains constant—unchanging through time. covenant cloud

This constancy is reflected in the triune nature of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are eternally consistent, yesterday, today, and forever. This unchanging nature extends to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which remains steadfast across all ages. This continuity is a cornerstone in God's plan of salvation, a divine blood covenant offered to humanity.

To delve deeper into this concept, it is essential to define and understand the nature of a covenant. A covenant is more than a mere agreement or contract; it is a solemn commitment, often sealed with an oath, involving mutual obligations and promises. The Hebrew word for covenant, BeRiTh בְּרִית, found approximately 300 times in the Tanakh (Old Testament), is believed to originate from an Assyrian term meaning to bind or fetter, suggesting a profound and binding commitment. The King James Version of the Bible mentions 'covenant' 319 times, underscoring its significance in biblical texts.

The Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible describes a covenant as “a solemn agreement between two or more parties, made binding by some sort of oath.” Similarly, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary defines it as “an agreement enacted between two or more parties in which one or both make promises under oath to perform or refrain from certain actions stipulated in advance.” In Hebrew, the phrase Karat Berit, meaning “to cut a covenant,” often accompanies covenant-making, indicating the sacrificial rituals that were part of this solemn act.

 

Biblical covenants vary in nature and context. For instance, the covenant between Laban and Jacob was symbolized by a heap of stones, serving as a tangible witness to their agreement. Covenants can exist between individuals, tribes, and even kingdoms. A significant example from Old Testament times, which remains relevant today, is the Ketubah contract, a covenant of Holy Matrimony between husband and wife.

 

To many people step into a marriage without God, A marriage with God involved is not just a contract between two people and their State issued wedding license. A marriage in which God is invoked and involved becomes a Holy act, from which we then also can receive the word of “Holy Matrimony”.
A marriage which is sanctified, holy, because God is an integral part of it.

 

This leads to an important distinction between marriage and Holy Matrimony. While many enter into marriage, a union recognized by the state, Holy Matrimony involves a deeper, spiritual dimension where God is an integral part. This sanctified union transcends a legal contract, becoming a holy covenant blessed by God's presence.

Entering into a Covenant with God elevates the participants to partners in fulfilling the covenant, with God's Holiness imbuing the agreement. This is known as Kiddushin, sanctifying both the covenant and its participants. To be sanctified is to be set apart for a special purpose, a calling to a holy life. For Christians, this means that upon conversion, one is dedicated to a life of service, striving to emulate Jesus Christ, walking in His path, and speaking His truth, in contrast to worldly values.

Christians are called to live a holy life, making every effort towards sanctification, even though absolute perfection may not be attained in this life. The ultimate fulfillment of sanctification occurs with Christ's return, when believers are granted glorified bodies. This concept is rooted in Old Testament teachings, as seen in Leviticus 11:44 (KJV), which calls for holiness.

 Leviticus 11:44 (kJV)

 

“For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

 


A man holding a Bible with a pencil, against the background of the living room with a fireplace. Reading a book in a cozy environment. Close up.A pivotal moment in the history of covenants is found in the encounter between Abram and Melchizedek, the king and High Priest of Salem (now known as Jerusalem). This event, recorded in Genesis 14:18-23 (CEB), marks a significant interaction in the unfolding of God's covenantal relationship with humanity.

 

Genesis 14:18-23 (CEB)

 

“Now Melchizedek the king of Salem and the priest of El Elyon had brought bread and wine, 19 and he blessed him, “Bless Abram by El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth; 20 bless El Elyon, who gave you the victory over your enemies.”

 

Abram gave Melchizedek one-tenth of everything. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the property for yourself.”

 

22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I promised the Lord, El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I wouldn’t take even a thread or a sandal strap from anything that was yours so that you couldn’t say, ‘I’m the one who made Abram rich.’”

 

Abram's encounter with Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God (El Elyon), is a significant moment in biblical history. Abram's act of giving a tenth to Melchizedek was an acknowledgment of God's sovereignty and Melchizedek's priestly authority. This act of faith and reverence stands in stark contrast to Abram's interaction with the King of Sodom. Abram refused any reward from the King of Sodom, adhering to a vow he had made to God, ensuring that his wealth and success could only be attributed to the divine providence of God, not to human alliances or spoils of war.

Despite Abram's wealth and status, he lamented to God about his lack of a biological heir. This concern was profound in Abram's culture and personal life, as an heir was seen as a continuation of one's legacy and blessings. In response, God led Abram outside and promised him descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, symbolizing an immeasurable and enduring legacy.

Abram, though a man of great faith, exhibited human skepticism when he questioned God's promise regarding the land. This moment of doubt did not please God, yet it led to a pivotal event: the establishment of a blood covenant between God and Abram. This covenant was not only a promise but also a prophetic foreshadowing of the trials and tribulations that would befall Abram's descendants, including their 400-year bondage in Egypt.

The covenant ceremony was profound and symbolic. Abram prepared the sacrificial animals, dividing them as was customary in ancient covenant rituals, and waited for God to seal the covenant. During this time, Abram diligently protected the sacrificial animals from predators, demonstrating his commitment and readiness to uphold his part of the covenant.

However, as night fell, Abram was overcome by sleep. In this state of vulnerability and rest, God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, completed the covenant. God's presence, symbolized by a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, passed between the pieces of the sacrifice. This act signified God's unilateral commitment to the covenant, even as Abram slept. The smoking fire pot and the flaming torch represented God's purifying presence, a refiner's fire that cleanses and sanctifies.

The flaming torch, in particular, is prophetically seen as a representation of Jesus Christ. This imagery foreshadows the New Covenant established through Christ, who is often referred to as the Light of the World. The refiner's fire symbolizes the purifying and sanctifying work of Christ, who cleanses us from sin and personal impurities, ensuring that the covenant is upheld in divine righteousness and purity.

 

Malachi 3:1-3, 10-12, 17, 18 (AMP)

Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger or Angel of the covenant, Whom you desire, behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.

 

2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;

 

3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness.

 

10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

 

11 And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts.

 

12 And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

 

17 And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure). And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.

 

18 Then shall you return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him.”

 

 

abraham hace un pactoAnother confirmation of this covenant and the cleansing fire of the Lord we find in the book of the prophet

Zechariah 13:9 (AMP)

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined and will test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will hear and answer them. I will say, It is My people; and they will say, The Lord is my God.”

 

The refining process that began with Abram's covenant with God indeed represents an ongoing journey, one marked by faith, trials, and growth. This journey is vividly illustrated in the unfolding narrative of Abram (later Abraham) and Sarai (later Sarah), particularly in Genesis 16. Despite the remarkable promise God had made to Abram, the fulfillment of this promise seemed to be delayed, leading Abram and Sarai to take matters into their own hands.

At the age of 86, Abram fathered a child with Hagar, Sarai's Egyptian maidservant. This decision was borne out of impatience and a human attempt to fulfill divine promises through their own means. Sarai, unable to conceive, offered Hagar to Abram as a second wife, solely for the purpose of providing an heir. This action, while culturally acceptable at the time, was a deviation from the monogamous nature of Abram's marriage to Sarai up to that point.

The birth of Ishmael to Hagar, however, was not the fulfillment of God's covenant. This act of taking a second wife to bear a child was a manifestation of Abram and Sarai's struggle to fully trust in God's timing and promises. It reflects a common human tendency to rely on our own understanding and efforts when divine plans do not align with our expectations or timelines.

Genesis 17:1-5 (AMP)

 

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Almighty God; walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect (blameless, wholehearted, complete).

 

2 And I will make My covenant (solemn pledge) between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.

 

3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God said to him,

 

4 As for Me, behold, My covenant (solemn pledge) is with you, and you shall be the father of many nations.

 

5 Nor shall your name any longer be Abram [high, exalted father]; but your name shall be Abraham [father of a multitude], for I have made you the father of many nations.”

 

The transformation of Sarai into Sarah, meaning "princess," and the birth of Isaac, whose name means "laughter," are pivotal in the narrative of God's covenant with Abram. Isaac's birth was a fulfillment of God's promise, a miracle that brought joy and laughter, especially considering Abram's initial reaction of disbelief at the prospect of fatherhood at such an advanced age. This event underscores a fundamental truth about divine covenants: God is unfailingly faithful to His promises, regardless of human circumstances or limitations.

The story of Abram and Sarah teaches us about the nature of faith and trust in God. It challenges us to consider our own faithfulness and trust in God's provisions. Like Abram, who chose to forgo the wealth of Sodom, we are called to discern and sometimes reject immediate prosperity, trusting instead in God's provision (Jehovah Jireh). Our faith is often refined through trials and challenges, stripping away pride and self-reliance to reveal a purer, more humble reliance on God's grace and provision.

 

Genesis 12:2-3 (AMP) 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].

 

3 And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].”

 

The covenant promises of God, as seen in the life of Abram, extend beyond his immediate lineage. In Genesis 12:2-3 (AMP), God's promise to Abram is not only for his descendants but for all nations, indicating a universal aspect of God's covenantal plan. This inclusivity is further emphasized in the New Testament, where Christians, as spiritual descendants of Abraham, are grafted into this covenant, becoming partakers in the promises of God.

The biblical narrative presents various covenants that God established throughout history, each with specific promises and stipulations:

  1. The Adamic Covenant: God's grant of dominion over the earth to Adam and his descendants.Decorated Park for weddings. Action. Beautifully decorated wedding ceremony location under a large trees.
  2. The Noahic Covenant: God's promise never to destroy the earth by flood again.
  3. The Abrahamic Covenant: The promise of land, numerous descendants, and blessings to the nations.
  4. The Mosaic or Sinaitic Covenant: God's laws given at Sinai, promising blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
  5. The Land Covenant: The promise of the land of Zion to the Israelites, contingent upon their obedience.
  6. The Davidic Covenant: Establishing David's dynasty, the promise of the Messiah, and the temple.
  7. The New Covenant: Inaugurated by Jesus Christ, it promises a new heart and spirit, gathering all nations back to Zion.
  8. The Eternal Covenant of Peace: The culmination of all covenants, establishing God's throne in the New Jerusalem, with Jesus reigning eternally as the Prince of Peace.

These covenants, viewed through the lens of dispensationalism, reveal a consistent, unchanging God who works through different eras and methods to accomplish His divine plan. Each covenant builds upon the previous, culminating in the ultimate fulfillment of God's redemptive work through Jesus Christ. This continuity and faithfulness of God across different dispensations affirm that His promises and covenants remain valid and active, guiding believers in their faith journey and shaping their understanding of God's eternal purpose.

 

 

Category: Theology
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The Grafting

The concept of "grafting" in the Christian Messianic Hebrew Roots movement is a profound illustration of spiritual inclusion and identity. This metaphor, deeply rooted in the teachings of the Apostle Paul, particularly in his letter to the Romans, encapsulates the transformative journey of faith for believers in Yeshua (Jesus Christ). It signifies that upon embracing faith in Christ, an individual is spiritually integrated or 'grafted' into the Olive Tree of Israel, symbolizing their adoption into God's covenant family.

 

Romans 11:11-24 (CJB) “In that case, I say, isn’t it that they have stumbled with the result that they have permanently fallen away?” Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy.
12 Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world — that is, if Isra’el’s being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter — how much greater riches will Isra’el in its fullness bring them!

 

13 However, to those of you who are Gentiles I say this: since I myself am an emissary sent to the Gentiles, I make known the importance of my work 14 in the hope that somehow I may provoke some of my own people to jealousy and save some of them! 15 For if their casting Yeshua aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting him mean? It will be life from the dead!

 

16 Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf.
And if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, 18 then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.
19 So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
20 True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust. However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don’t be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified!
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won’t spare you!
22 So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity: on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off; but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you — provided you maintain yourself in that kindness! Otherwise, you too will be cut off!
23 Moreover, the others, if they do not persist in their lack of trust, will be grafted in; because God is able to graft them back in.
24 For if you were cut out of what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree!”

 

 

 

grafting

Paul's discourse in Romans 11:11-24 (Complete Jewish Bible) is pivotal in understanding this concept. He articulates that the stumbling of Israel, paradoxically, became the conduit for Gentile salvation, serving a dual purpose: to bring salvation to the Gentiles and to incite a holy jealousy in Israel, leading them back to faith. This passage is rich in its theological implications, underscoring both the kindness and severity of God in His dealings with humanity.

A critical aspect of this grafting metaphor is the relationship between the original branches (Israel) and the wild branches (Gentiles). Contrary to some interpretations, the Olive Tree into which believers are grafted is not Israel itself, but rather represents the messianic lineage stemming from Jesse, culminating in Jesus Christ. This distinction is crucial, as it emphasizes that Christ is the foundation and sustainer of this spiritual tree.

The root of this tree symbolizes God the Father, the origin and sustainer of all existence. The life-giving sap, representative of the Holy Spirit, flows from the Father, permeating the entire tree and sustaining both natural and grafted branches. This vivid imagery illustrates the Trinitarian nature of God's work in salvation.

In the process of grafting, an olive tree is prepared by removing its branches, symbolizing the severance of unbelieving Israel from the covenant of grace through Christ. However, the possibility of being re-grafted signifies God's enduring faithfulness and mercy. Believers, both Jewish and Gentile, are grafted into this tree through faith, not by birthright or ethnicity. This grafting does not alter their ethnic identity; rather, it transforms their spiritual identity.

The unity of Jew and Gentile in Christ, often referred to as the 'one new man', is a profound mystery revealed in the New Testament. This unity does not erase distinct cultural or ethnic identities but transcends them, creating a new spiritual identity in Christ. This new identity does not negate ethnic distinctions but rather celebrates them within the unity and diversity of the body of Christ.

In conclusion, the metaphor of grafting beautifully encapsulates the inclusive nature of God's salvation plan, where Jew and Gentile alike, through faith, partake in the life-giving nourishment from the Root—Jesus Christ. This spiritual union in Christ forms the core of our identity as believers, transcending all other distinctions and uniting us in the shared pursuit of glorifying God and living out the truths of the Gospel.

 

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