Lion Tamers

Lion.jpg

The concept of the devil is problematic.

Some blame every little thing on him—every thought, every bump in the road, every muscle spasm. They strap on their spiritual armor in the morning, and go to bed with dents and bruises at night. One starts to wonder if such a perspective can only weaken their faith in God, and dull their sense of personal responsibility.

Others ignore the devil completely. I attended a Presbyterian Church for seven years. Satan was rarely, if ever, a part of the conversation. Why? Despite the witness of the New Testament that Christ came to lay down his life and take it up again that he might dethrone the ruler of this world who blinds the minds of the unbelieving [II Cor. 4:4, I John 3:8, Matt. 13:44-46, etc.], there is just no elbow room in the TULIP for the devil.

One can empathize with both views. All the New Testament writers were very serious about the devil and his power, and gave strict warnings and battle plans. But we can’t blame all the evil of this world on a fallen angel, can we? What about human depravity? Total human depravity.

There is also the issue of logic: Can a creature ever be a genuine threat to its all-powerful Creator? If the earth is God’s footstool, all he has to do is look down, find the guy with the pitchfork, and stomp.  

THOUGHTS ON ABSALOM:

 Some insight might be gained from the story of David and Absalom.

We know that God often used Israel as a teaser trailer for the Messiah. Think about Jonah going into a fish for three days, then being spit out on land as a testimony to God’s resurrection power. Or Joseph being falsely accused, thrown into prison for three years, then released to sit at Pharaoh’s right hand. Or Moses judging the slave-master of God’s people with a blood sacrifice, leading God’s people through a place of watery death into freedom, then ascending alone into God’s presence on Mt. Sinai before descending again with a set of Laws, a teacher and guide for Israel—crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost.

There are many more stories like these, but the story of David and Absalom rarely gets the attention it deserves when it comes to illuminating the natural conflict between Satan and Sovereignty.

Think about it: You have a good king reigning over a good kingdom. You have a prince of that kingdom that has his eye on the throne. Special attention is given to Absalom’s appearance, especially his hair [II Sam. 14:25-26]. He is described as a man of power [15:1], and a man who used his power and charm to woo the citizens of Israel away from their allegiance to David [15:2-6]. Sound familiar? If not, read the description of Lucifer in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.

What does David do about this rebellion? Does he have the authority or the power to stop his son from taking over Jerusalem? Of course. So why doesn’t he?

Just ask Luke Skywalker.

When it came time for the battle, David left Jerusalem, unwilling to fight his own son. Even when Absalom is defeated, hung from a tree by his own arrogance (can the analogy get any clearer?), David does not rejoice. He mourns.

There are times when God has to remind his rebellious children who is in charge. He puts his foot down. He sends people to their rooms. Does that mean he revels in his power, desperate for glory? No. Jesus claimed to be meek and humble in heart, the personification of Love. He is slow to anger, not willing for any to perish, dispelling justice in his own way in his own time.

Meekness is not the same as weakness. The same love that embraces and comforts will challenge and defend, even at great personal expense.

THOUGHTS ON LION TAMING:

If God is so loving, why would he cast the devil and his angels to earth after their rebellion? Why not create hell, put them in, and lock the doors, sparing humanity millennia of heartache and tragedy?

First it’s important to think clearly about heaven, earth and hell:

  • Heaven is a spiritual place where God rules absolutely.
  • Hell is a spiritual place prepared for the devil and his angels [Matt. 25:41]. Think of it as a prison for heavenly rebels.
  • The earth is a physical place for human beings to fill and rule over [Gen. 1:28]. That’s why Adam named the animals, not God.

When Jesus prays for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, he reveals that God’s rule there is not the same as it is here. In Scripture, the barrier between the worlds is presented as a flaming sword guarding the entrance to Eden, or as a veil in the temple. That was the same veil that was torn when Christ—the self-proclaimed stairway to heaven—was crucified.

Think of the universe as God’s house, and hell and the earth as separate rooms built for separate people. Adam and Eve were given their own room, and told to keep it clean. Apparently Satan was allowed to go in there. He lied to Eve, she took the bait, and God’s been urging humans to clean up their room ever since.

Was Eve capable of resisting the devil? Of course. She knew what she was supposed to do. When Jesus, the second Adam, walked the earth, he told demons what to say and where to go. Eve had the same authority.

So how did Satan become the ruler of this world? I like to use the analogy of a lion and a lion tamer: Put the two of them in a cage. Who is the superior creature? Now take the whip away.

The devil is not the ruler of this world because God put him in charge. The devil is the ruler of this world because, after the Fall, he became the strongest creature on the planet. As long as the relationship between God and man remains severed, the devil remains in control. But if that relationship is restored, the devil loses his grip.

Jesus became a man in order to legitimately get the whip back into the hands of his lion tamers. He did for humanity what humanity could not do for itself, restoring the relationship with God that allows humans to reclaim their position as spirit-filled physical beings, able to fulfill their Biblical mandate to fill the earth and subdue it.

Revelation 20:10 – 21:5 presents us with our ultimate hope:

Put simply, the devil will be cast off the earth, and not allowed to return. Earth and heaven will be rejoined, like a bride to a bridegroom, and God and man will share the same space once again. He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or pain.

Then the One who sits on the throne will declare: “Behold, I make all things new.”

11 thoughts on “Lion Tamers

  1. Satan’s purpose seems to be to try and test things, to see if they can be shaken and knocked down. He does this to people. Adam and Eve fell and were knocked down and the whole human race after them have been subjected to condemnation, sin, and death ever since. Jesus Christ withstood the test for He had the Spirit of God given to Him without measure. He overcame the world by His faith, remaining faithful and true to His God and Father no matter what suffering and trial came upon Him. He could not be shaken. God delighted in His obedient, worthy Son and rewarded Him by raising Him from the dead and giving Him all power and authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus Christ will use that power and authority to deliver creation. That is the gospel.

    Jesus didn’t “suffer in our place” or “in our stead” as is popularly taught, rather he died as an offering,an approach present, a “fragrant odor”, something that was delightful and well pleasing to the Father. He wasn’t the object of God’s wrath on the cross, He was the object of God’s delight. The delight of a Father who delights in a Son Who’s obedience, faithfulness, love, and devotion to His Father’s will could not be shaken. The greatest privilege of a believer is to suffer together with Christ. Paul wrote, “yet joint enjoyers of Christ’s allotment, if so be that we are suffering together, that we should be glorified together also.”(Rom 8:17)

    Jesus Christ isn’t going to save creation all by Himself. Those who suffer with Christ and participate with Him in His trials will rule and reign with Him and participate with Him in delivering creation. The creation that is now in bondage to vanity and corruption and is groaning and travailing is looking forward to the day when the sons of God who are now being tried and suffering with Christ will be unveiled in glory so that the entire creation will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God.(Rom 8:18-25)

    When Jesus spoke of His coming trials and then spoke of the covenant that God had made with Him to give Him a kingdom as a reward for His trials, He turned to His twelve disciples and said that He was covenanting with His 12 disciples that they would be with Him in His kingdom and would sit on 12 thrones judging(setting things right) and ruling over the 12 tribes of Israel on the basis of their participating with Him in His trials.(Lk 22:25-30) And when the two disciples wanted to sit on Jesus Christ’s left hand and right hand in power and glory in His kingdom, He immediately focused their attention on the cup of trial and suffering that would be required to have such a place of glory, privilege, and responsibility. (Matt 20:17-23)

    There are many Satanic lies in Christianity as Paul prophesied there would be. One of them would be something like come to Jesus and you can “live your best life now” which would be your Joel Olsteen type of message which is very popular. When Jesus spoke about His coming sufferings, Peter said to paraphrase, “No, Lord, not the path of obedience and suffering you can live your best life now.” And Jesus replied, “Get thee behind me Satan….”

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    • I agree that Christians, on the whole, have lost their vision for the world Jesus came to inaugurate through his resurrection. We are currently in a kingdom of suffering because we are in the period of war, the wresting of the world from one ruler to another. As Jesus told his disciples in John 16, suffering should be expected. If the world hated him, it will hate them. If it killed him, they should expect to be killed as well.

      Sharing the sufferings of Christ that his glory might be shared as well. Was this not one of Paul’s primary goals in Philippians? To know him, the fellowship of his sufferings and the power of his resurrection.

      What would our goals be?

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  2. I would say that our goal is to first of all to get a firm understanding of the things Paul prays for us in Eph 1:15-23 and then to follow Paul’s entreaty in Eph 4:1 to walk worthily of our calling.

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  3. First I was going to simply write John and say I get where you are going, but be careful of pushing analogies too far, we are not lion tamers, and satan isn’t a lion to be tamed by us. I also don’t think your analogies on why Satan does what he does or why he is here are Biblical, mainly because Scripture actually gives us very little, and thus it is really a mystery. It is true we must balance our views in-between Satan being nothing and Satan being everything, but the right balance is very difficult, because we have so little information actually on it.

    That is why I think the Reformed view (and cmon TULIP is not Reformed theology in total – you know that – and you also know the confessions deal with Satan), properly puts the focus on Christ, and not even our sin nor Satan. We acknowledge that we have sin inside, and Satan outside, but the ultimate response is to run fully to Christ, and resist both’s attempt to draw us from Christ, not to fight each head on.

    The paradox is that to be more like Christ (more obedient to the law of God), we actually don’t pursue the law directly, but Christ, and the more we gain of Christ, the more we actually want to obey the law as a by-product. Just like we gain the whole world by not pursuing it but God’s kingdom.

    Then to say something to Charles: suffice to say, if you believe that Christ didn’t die a substitutionary death on the Cross for your sins, then how are your sins forgiven? Are you saying that Jesus only pleased God on the Cross by being an offering? How? Because God is happy with offerings? Are not offerings pleasing to God because they signify Justice being done (aka – the righteous judgement of sin: death)?

    I don’t see how you can have Jesus dying on the cross for any reason but to die in our place, for the punishment of our sins. God isn’t pleased with sacrifices ultimately, but with obedience. Jesus pleased God, not ultimately as the sacrifice, but because of His obedience. And we now please God because our sins were paid for by Jesus, and His obedience is now considered our obedience.

    God’s pleasure comes from obedience, and justice. Christ was obedience in Life, and so pleased God, and Christ died to fulfill all justice (towards His children), and thus pleasing God.

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    • Hi Ryan,

      I agree that our minds should be set firmly on Christ, and that a proper focus will give us the balance that we need when it comes to dealing with the sin within and Satan without. I can’t emphasize that enough. Isn’t that what Jesus did when he was tempted? Kept his eyes on his Father? Held to Scripture? Obedience?

      However, I disagree that the Bible doesn’t have much to say about the devil. And I also disagree that using a lion is a poor or unbiblical analogy.

      Peter directly states that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour [I Peter 5:8] and warns his readers to be diligent for that very reason. Paul warns his readers that the devil masquerades as an angel of light and that we need to be aware of his schemes to avoid disaster. He’s the one who writes about putting on the armor of Christ because our battle is not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers in the heavenly places.

      Sure, the Old Testament is fairly tight-lipped about the devil, but the New Testament is packed with content about Satan and demons. If you study the chiastic structure of Revelation, you discover that the central point of the book was not that Jesus was coming back, but that the devil would be cast off the earth: https://creationconcept.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/on-the-chiastic-structure-of-revelation/

      This is not to minimize the return of Christ, but to show that Jesus coming to “destroy the works of the devil” [I John] is a big deal and deserves our attention. To minimize this conversation is to minimize a central message of the New Testament.

      Through Christ by the Spirit we ARE like lion tamers. If the devil is like a roaring lion, and we are to “crush the devil under our feet” [Rom. 16:20], I think the analogy is not far off. Especially if we examine how Christ dealt with demons and Satan, and take his words seriously that we are sent into all the world with his authority and power, his indwelling presence.

      I know that TULIP does not say everything about the Reformed view, but I also know that conversations about the devil do not naturally find their way into typical Reformed sermons. In my opinion, if Christ and the apostles emphasized something, and a theological lens dims that emphasis, the theology should be subjected to Scripture and not the other way around.

      For example, the same person that wrote Ephesians 1 and Romans 9 wrote that “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ…” (II Cor. 4:4).

      I wonder why the devil would work so hard to blind people that are only blind because of their depravity and the unwillingness of God to draw them to himself? These people would be born blind. And if God draws them, they HAVE to respond, right? So what is the devil doing? What is the point of this verse? Does it fit at all in Reformed thought? If not, how can it be explained?

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      • A fine reply, a few questions then:

        1) What do you think Satan’s tactics are in attacking Christians?
        2) How should the Christian respond to such tactics?
        3) How does the flesh fight against the Christian?
        4) How should the Christian fight against the flesh?
        5) How does the world fight against the Christian?
        6) How should the Christian fight against the world?

        I would argue that all the ultimate tactics are the same, and thus the ultimate responses are the same. So to focus on one, is to address them all, and thus to “ignore” (which I don’t think Reformed theology does, even if your experience with it is a contra-experience) one isn’t to debilitate the proper response.

        I would argue that the Christian is under attack, and while it is good to know where the attack is coming from, there is an essence where if you know your being attacked (even if ignorant of the aggressor / direction of attack) one can still effectively respond to the attack.

        Of course I’m speaking on broad terms, in nuance the flesh, devil, and world all have uniqueness and slightly different focuses in their attacks, but in my opinion the ultimate tactics and goal are the same with them all.

        Thus there is some benefit in addressing each avenue of attack with specific focus, but there is also danger to only focus on one too deeply as it leaves one vulnerable to seeing the bigger picture, and nuances in the other attacks.

        Final thought, it seems to me that when one reads Scripture, there is an overall concern in all 3 attacks, and an overall response that is consistent with all 3 attacks, namely resist, and cling to Christ.

        With all respect 🙂

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  4. I agree with your central point 100%. No argument at all. And I’ll get to your six questions, but I’m running out the door.

    In the meantime . . . you didn’t explain Paul’s point in II Corinthians 4:4.

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    • No worries on time. I’m sorry I didn’t think I was supposed to explain Paul’s point. But since you want it, in short it seems to be saying that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers to hearing the Gospel. But this has no comment on, what the minds of unbelievers were before Satan blinded them, nor that he is the first reason they are blind to begin with, nor does it do damage to original sin, nor the concept of total depravity, nor does it make Satan have any power in and of himself (that isn’t given him by God). Or that he is doing work apart from God’s will.

      I don’t think this verse helps your cause at all 🙂

      For a longer explanation I suggest you read Calvin on that passage: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/calvin/2_corinthians/4.htm

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      • Well, I don’t really have a cause. I’m just trying to look clearly at the witness of Scripture. Sadly, no matter what denominational leader you pull up on a commentary, they will force the verse into their theological framework, even if it takes quoting Church fathers and using original languages, and their proponents will all smile and nod. (I did read the commentary, by the way)

        But the question remains: Did the apostle Paul really believe the plain words that he wrote here? If so, it seems that he gave some credence to the work of the devil when it comes to blocking people from seeing the Gospel clearly. That would throw a new element into a strict view of Total Depravity where all or born blind (dead) with no interest in the things of God to begin with (the devil wouldn’t have to lift a finger to deceive these people, and wouldn’t waste his time), or the concept of Irresistible Grace where the devil couldn’t stop the lights from coming on no matter what he tried.

        In other words, if we take the words of this Scripture at face value, without trying to force a square peg into a round hole, we would have to say that there is some sort of spiritual battle when it comes to “seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” that involves the free efforts of Satan and the free choice of human beings.

        Otherwise, when it comes to the devil, we’re just talking about a mouse running around in the gears of Big Ben trying to change the time. He’s just going to get crushed. He’s not a real threat.

        Which is exactly why I get concerned. If we start to think of him as not a true threat, we should start to suspect deception, the masquerading angel of light. An army absolutely needs to focus on their country and commanding officer, and learn to follow orders. But he may also want to take a little time to focus on his enemy. If not, we may fall prey to his deceptions. He should be taken very seriously.

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      • I also want to make clear that I am not trying to attack Reformed theology. I have good Reformed friends (including you) that love Christ, love the Church, love the Scriptures, and work hard to promote the Gospel, changing lives and making a real difference in the world.

        I don’t agree 100% with the theology, but that doesn’t make me right or them wrong. Am I the final word when it comes to theology? Not by a long shot. This blog is just a place for me to muse on what I read and think about, and I love a good push back. I really do.

        How else can we grow? We NEED to challenge one another, not just find a nice church where everyone thinks the same and we just affirm one another week after week. I’m really glad that you spoke up! 🙂

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  5. Hello Ryan,

    You wrote:
    “Then to say something to Charles: suffice to say, if you believe that Christ didn’t die a substitutionary death on the Cross for your sins, then how are your sins forgiven?”

    Charles Replies:
    When Jacob was coming back home to His brother Esau, he thought that Esau would still be angry with him and so he sent on ahead an “approach present” of his herds and animals to Esau to placate Esau and create reconciliation between the two of them:

    “For he thought, I am determined to appease his face with the approach present going before me. And afterward I shall see his face; perhaps he will lift up my face. So the approach present passed along, ahead of his face; yet he himself lodged for the night in the camp.” (Gen 32:20,21)

    So Jacob tried to give Esau a gift/present/approach present to try to get into the good graces of Esau, to bring about reconciliation or “atonement”. That word “appease” is the same word “atonement” that the offerings and sacrifices were associated with.

    The Israelites brought their presents, offerings, and sacrifices to God to get in the good graces of God, to appease Him, bring about reconciliation and atonement.

    They were saying, “I know I have sinned and offended you and that you are angry with me, but here is a flawless animal, take pleasure and delight in it, let it be a “fragrant odor” to you and let there be peace, reconciliation, and atonement between us.”

    If your neighbor is angry with you because your dog messed up their yard, you might try taking an “approach present” or a “peace offering” of a big bowl of flawless fruit or some flowers over and give them to your neighbor in order to make him happy, appease him, make peace, reconcile yourself to him, make “atonement”, etc. {On the other hand, you might try the penal substitutionary atonement method and you could say to your neighbor, “I know my bad dog messed up your yard, but I have a well behaved, flawless, purebred puppy that never did anything wrong. Pour your wrath out on this puppy and I hope you feel better towards me.}

    When explaining the cross, it is almost always said that God poured out His wrath on Jesus Christ but there isn’t a single verse in the bible that says that Jesus Christ was the recipient of God’s wrath. We are always told things like, “Behold My Son in Whom I delight” or “I do always the things that please my Father”, etc.

    In what sense did Jesus Christ die for our sakes? He died as a “fragrant odor” something that delighted God and was acceptable and well pleasing to God:

    “Christ…gives Himself up for us, an approach present and a sacrifice to God, for a fragrant odor”(Eph 5:2)

    The perfect, flawless, unblemished love, devotion, endurance, obedience, faithfulness, and humility in doing the Father’s will even when doing that will lead to great personal suffering and sacrifice, is what pleased, delighted, and was a “fragrant odor” to the Father.

    As far as reconciliation, peace with God, and atonement go, mission accomplished. Jesus Christ’s death accomplished that:

    “For if, being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the death of His Son..”(Rom 5:10)

    However, we are still sinners and flawed. We are still mortal and dying. That is to say, if Jesus Christ hasn’t been raised from the dead, we are still in our sins.(1Cor 15:17) We need to be not only reconciled to God, we need to be saved from sin and death. We need to be justified: set right and made immortal. We need a Savior with the power and authority to do just that. And so we have One. God’s delight in his worthy Son lead Him to reward His Son with resurrection, a throne, a kingdom, and all power in heaven and on earth.

    “…much rather, being conciliated, we shall be saved in His life.”

    “We shall be saved.” This is future. “In His life”. He now has the power of an immortal life. He has become the resurrection and the life. He has the keys to death and Hades. As the firstborn of the dead, His resurrection is the pledge and guarantee that one day death will be abolished.

    Here is the first part of an article I’ve been writing on the subject that will clarify this better. The formatting, text colors, etc. didn’t come through but here it is anyway:

    For this Christ died and lives, that He should be
    Lord of the dead as well as of the living. Rom 14:9

    How does the death of the Lord Jesus Christ result in our salvation? It’s like this:

    The worthiness of the Son(obedience, faithfulness, humility, endurance, etc.) is demonstrated and tested in the context of trials and sufferings. God delights in His worthy Son and then rewards His worthy Son with resurrection, a throne, a kingdom, and all power in heaven and on earth. The Son then uses that power and authority to judge, save, and redeem. A redeemed creation then praises and honors it’s Savior and Lord.

    There are five main points in this process that are repeated over and over in scripture in various ways. These are the five main points:

    1) Worthiness. The worthiness of the Son especially as that worthiness is tested in the context of
    trials and suffering.
    2) Delight. The delight of the Father in His worthy Son.
    3) Reward. The Father rewards His worthy Son with Power, Authority, a kingdom, a throne,
    etc.
    4) Judging, saving, redeeming, reconciling, etc. The Son uses His power and authority to
    save, judge, redeem, etc.
    5) Praise and Honor. Every knee bows and every tongue confesses to praise and honor Him.

    Here is how these five points are expressed in Philippians 2:5-11:

    1) Worthiness: “…He humbles Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”(Phil 2:8) Here the worthy qualities are humility and obedience. Jesus spoke often about the need for humility in order to be great in the kingdom of God. In humility, He was the servant of all, and God exalted Him to be the Lord of all. Jesus Christ was obedient to His God and Father even when that obedience cost Him His own life.

    2) Delight: We get a small implied hint of God’s delight in His Worthy Son with the words “Wherefore, also, God Highly exalts Him..”(v.9) but it is just a hint. Just a few verses farther down in Phil 2:13 we read “for it is God Who is operating in you to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight.” The fullness of God’s Spirit dwells in Jesus Christ and works in Him for the sake of God’s delight. Jesus expressed this when He said, “for what is pleasing to Him (my Father) am I doing always.”(John 8:29) If you stop and think about it, this is the most audacious and remarkable statement ever uttered by any man! What son can say that he always does the things that please his father? Only one man could every make that statement. On a couple occasions in Jesus’ life the voice from heaven said, “This is my Son in Whom I delight.” In another place in Philippians we read this concerning God’s attitude towards sacrifice:

    I have been filled full, receiving from Epaphroditus the things from you, an odor fragrant, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.”(Phil 4:18)

    The sacrificial gifts that the Philippians gave to Paul where something in which God delighted, they were “an odor fragrant”, a “sacrifice acceptable”, and “well pleasing” to God. We will see later that this is God’s attitude toward the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as well.

    3) Reward: “…Wherefore, also, God Highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name that is above every name,…”(Phil 2:9) God exalts Him and gives Him a throne, and all power and authority in heaven and on earth based on the worthy qualities he demonstrated in his life and death. In this passage He is exalted based on the worthy qualities of humility and obedience. “Must not the Christ be suffering these things, and be entering into His glory?”(Luke 24:26) His suffering is directly linked to His glory. This is because the worthy qualities He displayed on the cross are the worthy qualities that delight God and moved God to grace Him with a name that is above all others and to give Him all power in heaven and on earth.

    4) Judging, Saving, reconciling, etc. This passage doesn’t go into any details about what Jesus Christ will do and accomplish with the exalted status and power and authority that is given to Him, but elsewhere we read that He will abolish death(2 Tim 1:10, 1 Cor 15:22+26) bring all in the heavens and all on the earth under His Headship(Eph 1:10), reconcile all in the heavens and on the earth to God(Col 1:20) and judge the living and the dead. All of this work that He will accomplish for all of creation flows out of His humility and obedience on the cross and is a result of the fact that God exalts Him and graces Him with a name that is above all others which is Jesus which means “Savior.” And it is in the name of this Savior, in the name of Jesus, that every knee will bow. And because every knee will bow to Him and every tongue confess Him as their Lord, we can conclude that Jesus Christ will abolish all idolatry and bring every tongue to praise and honor the true God.

    5) Praise, Honor and worship. Every knee will bow to Him and every tongue will acclaim Him to be their sovereign Lord. And this is for the glory(praise and honor) of God, the Father. (Phil 2:10,11)

    The example of Joseph

    1) Worthiness:
    -God was with him.(Gen 39:2; 21) A man in whom is the spirit of God.(Gen 41:38)
    The spirit of God in man is the very cause and foundation of his worthiness.
    -Everything he did prospered(Gen 39:3;23)
    -He was a faithful, and wise administrator of Potiphar’s household and
    of the prison.
    -He resisted the temptation of Potiphar’s wife.
    -He was discerning and wise(Gen 41:39)
    2) Delight
    -He was a delight and found favor in Potiphar’s sight and the Keeper of the Prison.

    3) Reward
    -Joseph’s worthiness is rewarded when He is “resurrected” out of slavery and prison and
    exalted to the highest position in Egypt just under Pharaoh. All power and authority in
    Egypt became his.

    4) Judging, saving, redeeming, etc.
    The worthiness of Joseph becomes not only the foundation of blessing for himself but for
    all of Egypt. Joseph uses his power and authority to save Egypt from famine and death.
    When the people no longer have money to buy food from Joseph, then Joseph uses the food
    to buy the people themselves and their land for Pharaoh and all the Egyptians become
    Pharaoh’s servants and belong to Pharaoh.(Gen 47:13-22)

    5) Praise, Honor and worship. Even before his trials and sufferings came upon him, Joseph has two dreams in which his parents and brothers bow before him and honor him.(Gen 37:5-11) Since Joseph became known as an interpreter of dreams, these dreams no doubt comforted him and gave him hope within his trials. Joseph is honored with Pharaoh’s ring, fine clothes, a gold chain, and Pharaoh’s second chariot.(Gen 41:42,43) All of Egypt bowed before Joseph(41:43).
    Joseph’s brothers bowed before him.(Gen 42:6)

    The example of Psalm 22

    1) Worthiness
    “Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    You made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
    On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. (Psalm 22:9,10)

    The worthy faith of the Messiah is encapsulated in the words “You made me trust
    you.” That faith was put to the test in all of the trials and sufferings of Jesus Christ and
    the faith of Jesus Christ is the foundation of blessing for all of creation. The phrase “you
    have been my God” find’s it’s counterpart in the New Testament phrase “The God and
    Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”(Eph 1:3 and elsewhere) When God finally delivers Israel
    and makes them worthy, then He will be their God and He will be made known to the world
    through them. Now God is known and made known through His worthy Son. He is made
    known to us as the “God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The phrase “you have been
    my God” also tells us that there was no idolatry in Jesus Christ, He loved His God and
    Father with His whole heart, mind and soul and therefore did the will of His Father no
    matter the cost or suffering involved. Thus, He was the epitome of a worthy Son.

    2) Delight
    “He trusts in the Lord; let Him deliver Him;
    let Him rescue Him, for He delights in Him!” (Psalm 22:8; Matt 27:39-44)

    On the cross He was mocked with the words “He trusts in the Lord; let Him deliver Him;
    let Him rescue Him; for He delights in Him.” And yet, how true those words are! Jesus
    Christ did Trust in His Father, and His Father delighted in Him and delivered Him out of
    death. His Trust/Faith in His Father is another one of His worthy qualities and that Faith
    of His was lived out in His faithfulness/obedience to His Father. What father would not
    delight in such an obedient son?

    3) Reward
    4) Judging, saving, redeeming
    5) Praise, honor and worship
    Here is the last part of Psalm 22. I put the Reward in green, the Judging, saving and
    redeeming in blue and the Praise and Honor in Red. Notice how interconnected and related
    each point is to the other:

    I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you;
    You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
    For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
    and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

    From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
    The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
    May your hearts live forever!

    All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
    and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
    For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

    All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.
    Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
    they shall come and proclaim his righteousness (Note: righteousness, a worthy quality) to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it. (Psalm 22:22-31)

    His reward is to be made the king of Israel, and the Lord of all the earth(and heaven). He “rules over the nations.” He will use His authority to bring all of humanity to worship the true God for “all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.” And He will abolish death for “before Him shall bow all who go down to dust.” Through Him, all of creation will be blessed and “posterity shall serve Him.”

    The negative example of Israel

    In understanding how Jesus Christ succeeds in becoming the Savior of the world, it is helpful to see how Israel “failed” to be the channel of God’s salvation to the world. When Israel came out of Egypt God said that if they would obey Him and keep His laws that Israel would then be a holy nation and He would bless them, and they would be a kingdom of priests. They would be the head of the nations and not the tail. They would be a kingdom of kings and priests having the political and religious authority of the earth. As such, they would not only secure the blessings of God for themselves, but they would be God’s channel to bless all of the nations. The whole earth would be blessed to have such a nation of kings and priests ruling over it. Here is how it would be:

    Israel’s obedienceGod’s delight in IsraelBlessing for Israel along with power and authority in the earth all nations blessed and saved through Israelpraise and honor for Israel and for God in all the earth.

    But what happened was this:

    Israel’s disobedience God’s wrath curses for IsraelIsrael not a blessing to the nationsshame, dishonor, and reproach for Israel and for the God of Israel

    And here is how Jesus Christ succeeds to become the Savior of the world:

    The fullness of God’s spirit dwells in HimJesus Christ’s obedience God’s delight in His worthy Son God blesses and rewards Him with all power in heaven and on earth, He becomes a King and Priest All of creation is blessed through Him as He fulfills the promises of God, abolishes death, etc. Praise, Honor, and Worship for Him and His God and Father.

    It should be noted that Israel’s “failure” is directly related to the fact that God did not give them His Spirit, righteousness, and strength to keep the law. But at a future date He promises to put the law in their hearts, and to give them His Spirit and then God will be the source of their righteousness and strength and they will obey and will be God’s channel of blessing and salvation to the nations, and then they will be a praise in the earth. Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed Savior, Anointed and filled with the fullness of God’s Spirit, was the very first man to be filled with the fullness of God’s Spirit. The New Covenant, God’s promise to fill Israel with His Spirit, had its beginning with Jesus Christ.

    For this Christ died and lives, that He should be
    Lord of the dead as well as of the living. Rom 14:9

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