We left last week talking about how the knowledge of God is progressive within the framework of who He is. That frame work never changes, but how He deals with people within the framework of who He is does change. We must consider an infinite God plus infinite time means infinite revelations of who He is.
In the Old Testament they had a certain amount of revelation, but in the New Testament we have a clearer revelation of who He is. But there is more:Ephesians 2:7 tells us the Father 'in the ages to come will continue to show the exceeding riches of His grace which is towards us, in Christ Jesus. More revelation of His kindness towards is in the ages to come. Ages. Plural. Amazing.
He is love, light, joy, peace, long-suffering, justice and righteousness and all good things. But within those characteristics of the Father God are the ability to apply who He is in a relatable way to each stage of Israel's history.
This will get you thrown off a cliff
When Jesus was in His home town at the 'gathering' (Hebrew:synagogue), in that time most likely someone's home, they handed Him the book of Isaiah. He read from 61:1-2.
In a prophecy about Himself, He read; 'The Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the teachable (meek), to heal the broken hearted....and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Then He sat down and everyone stared at Him. He told them that passage was now fulfilled.
If you read that passage you'll discover Jesus stopped mid-sentence of Isaiah 61:2. Verse 2 reads:"...to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God." Jesus sat down after saying 'to preach the acceptable year of the Lord', stating that part was fulfilled.
They didn't like that, and attempted to throw him off the nearby cliff. He couldn't tell them there would be about 2,000 years allowed for Gentiles to be given the chance to know the God of Israel between 'the acceptable year of the Lord' and the 'day of vengeance of our God'. But He told them the part that was revealed at that moment, up to that moment in time:"...to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.' That's the age we live in.
We see the progression of revelation once again.
Jesus' first coming was about the acceptable year of the Lord, so that is the portion of His personality we see. There is another part of His personality, 'the day of vengeance of our God', which we as His disciples and children of the Father God, will never personally experience.
Consider that a child may only see the good and gentle side of their dad or mom. But if someone tried to harm their child, that child would see a whole other part of their parents they didn't know existed - the side that would kill in self defense anyone who tried to harm their child. So it is with we children of the Father, being recipients of His love and not His wrath.
But the Jesus who returns at the Battle of Armageddon to destroy the enemies of Israel and God and who will then set up a world-wide earthly kingdom, is the same Jesus seen in the gospels. But the revelation in this age is the day of acceptance.
In this age of gender confusion
Popular culture would have us think a man should be peaceful, gentle, never wanting to fight, just wanting to get along with everyone. But that is partly incorrect. Part of what makes a man a man is the potential to kill in self defense anyone who would threaten his life or the lives of his loved ones.
It is goodness with the potential to do great harm to an enemy that contribute to righteousness. Righteousness is 'rightness'. For a husband and father to be complete, to be 'right' both elements must be in place. He must love his family with all his heart, and therefore carry within himself the threat of violence against anyone who threatens his family. That is right-ness. When a husband and wife make vows to one another, part of those vows include loving and honoring, but another element is that both of them will fight whatever forces would seek to destroy their union.
To say it another way, grace must by its nature, have a flip side of accountability. Noah was told to build a boat, that is grace. If he disobeyed, he would have died with the rest of the people. That's the accountability part of grace. Grace is from the heart of the giver of grace and is unlimited. But once grace is given it becomes the responsibility of the receiver of that grace to respond appropriately. Grace always has conditions to receive that grace.
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. That is grace. That whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. That is the condition of grace. Grace is given, but the condition is you have to believe in Jesus if you want to receive the benefits of that grace. Eternal life is found only in believing in His Son. Outside of that you cannot receive the Father's grace.
If a person cannot stand up for what they believe and those they love, that is not strength and righteousness, that is weakness. Self control without a moral foundation is weak. (Knowing what is right and wrong and being morally strong enough to stand up for right)
That's one reason people struggle with the idea of a God who is also a warrior. They think strength and morality mean no fighting; "Lets talk about it and not fight." But, if God is who He says He is, but lacks the moral strength to stand up for who He says He is, He isn't God.
Next week, specific examples in the OT. Until then, blessings,
http://www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com