Monday, November 7, 2016

Election 2016 versus Eternal Value

In our survey of the Old Testament, and our inquiry as to whether Jesus is present there, we have found that His name is mentioned in many places, all within the context of "salvation," that is, yeshua, which is translated into "Jesus."

I have been slowly making my way through the book of Isaiah.  

The Jews divide the Old Testament into three divisions, Torah ("Law" or "Instruction"); Neviim ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings"). My thesis is if Jesus is in the Old Testament, He will be represented in all three areas; if you search my previous blogs, you will see yeshua is in Torah and in Neviim.  We will explore Neviim momentarily.  

Yeshua is especially rich in Isaiah, which is not too surprising, given the theme of Isaiah is salvation from captivity.

Character and name are inextricably linked in Jewish culture. Joseph is told by the angel that Mary "will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).  

His name designates is who He is and what He will accomplish.  

Luke, who is telling the story from Mary's point of view, says, "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.'” (1:31-33)

From the beginning His name, His mission and Who He is is all contained within the name, Yeshua.  

Now, let's look at our next set of verses from Isaiah, chapter 51:6-8:

"Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation [yeshuah] will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.
Hear me, you who know what is right,
you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
or be terrified by their insults.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
my salvation [yeshuah] through all generations.”

Let's spend some time with this, on the eve of one of the more contentious elections I have seen in quite a while.  

In these verses, God is reminding His people of how temporary all of this is--the world, us, the physical universe.  Scientists have given an expiration date to the sun itself--5 billion years.  Now, to us, that's a long time, but it shows that even the sun is not around forever.  

God is putting everything in perspective here.  He is saying that the only thing not temporary is Me and what I offer: salvation. Why?  Because My righteousness emanates from My character, Who I am, the great I AM--"will never fail."  In fact, God's name, Yahweh, is taken from He told Moses His name is:  "I AM Who I AM." This name means, I have always been and will always be--thus, what I am and what I do is eternal.  

Now, in theses verses, He is saying because of Who He is, we are not to be afraid of what "mere mortals" do to us.  Their threats, their bombast, their arrogance, will not last.  We mortals have an expiration date, and so does what we do.  

So, what gives what we do meaning?  We who have taken His "instruction to heart" know "what is right."  If what we do is predicated on His Word, what we do will have lasting value.  His Word will not fail as Isaiah says in 40:6-8:

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.

So, all the fluster and bluster of this election season, seen from an eternal perspective, will have no lasting value unless it is predicated on the Word of God. 

So, how to proceed?  

Jesus is our salvation--He saves us from our sins.  His name throughout Scripture attests to that.  

He also came to live in us:  "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." (Gal. 2:20)

We live by His power within us: "The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you." (Rom. 8:11)

He is our wisdom: "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption."

So, we need to pray for His guidance, wisdom and direction.  That is why He came and that is why He longs to live out His life and power in us: to accomplish things on this earth that will have eternal value.  

Let us, as we approach the Savior with all aspects of our lives, echo the words of Simeon, a man who gazed upon the baby Jesus in the Temple:  "When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.'”

Amen and may God have mercy on this country.  

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