and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. — Isaiah 29:24
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,
|March 1, 2008||
Volume 7 Number 5
The Spirit Gives Life
We make big plans for ourselves, forgetting the uncertain brevity of our physical lives. James explains:
13 Go to now, you that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14 Whereas you know not what shall be on the next day. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. -James 4
After Adam sinned, Yahweh made it clear to him that he was nothing more than dust. After a brief struggle with life, the man would return back to that from which he came:
19 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return. -Genesis 3
Job writes that man, being "full of trouble," lives his "few days" of life as a fleeing shadow:
1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
2 He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down: he flees also as a shadow, and continues not. -Job 14
The journey of the shadow of life back to the dust has occupied the minds of thoughtful people for thousands of years after these Scriptures were written. In the early 1600s, as these Scriptures were being translated into English under the authority of King James of England, another Englishman was restating that which God had already said. The well-known poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, combined the concepts of the shadow of life and the dust of death as he described the tragic emptiness of the reality of a life lost. He wrote that our "tomorrows" creep forward and our days become "yesterdays" as the "walking shadow" of life briefly struts upon the stage on the way to a "dusty death:"
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."*
It is tempting to think that God is also dust, because He says that He has created man in His own image:
27 So God created man inhis own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. -Genesis 1
God, however, is not made of flesh, bones, and blood! Instead, He is a Spirit:
24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. -John 4
Because God is a Spirit, He is invisible (see Colossians 1:15). Therefore, creating man in His own "image," means that He created him as an invisible spirit. He put the spirit of man into two types of physical bodies, one is male and the other is female. Therefore, man is created as a spirit, which dwells in a physical body.
Our visible physical bodies, however, are temporal, or temporary, while our spirit is eternal:
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. -2 Corinthians 4
As spiritual beings, He created us to live in His "everlasting kingdom," praising Him forever:
10 All your works shall praise you, O Yahweh; and your saints shall bless you.
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and talk of your power;
12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. -Psalms 145
His spiritual kingdom is also called the "Kingdom of God" or the "Kingdom of Heaven." When we refuse to accept Him as our King, we can no longer remain in His kingdom. We thereby subject ourselves to the rule of Satan, who has been given authority over the physical kingdoms of this temporal world:
5 And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, showed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said to him, All this power will I give you, and the glory of them: for that is delivered to me; and to whomever I will I give it. -Luke 4
To receive the power and glory that this physical world offers, we only need to submit ourselves to the authority of Satan, and worship him:
7 If you therefore will worship me, all shall be yours. -Luke 4
The spirit of Satan, who is also called the "prince of this world" (see John 14:30) and the "prince of the power of the air," redirects our focus away from the spiritual things of God and toward our temporal "desires of the flesh and of the mind:"
2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. -Ephesians 2
As we follow after Satan, we also follow in the footsteps of Adam who, by refusing to obey Yahweh, brought death upon himself and upon the world:
12 Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: -Romans 5
Unless we are living in the kingdom that is ruled by the Spirit of God, we live a life of futility and frustration as we are trapped in bodies that are headed for death. Paul writes of his frustration and then of the hope that he has through Yahshua the Messiah (also called Jesus Christ):
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Yahshua the Messiah our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. -Romans 7
By the power of His death, the Messiah "cast out" the spirit of the "prince of this world" and draws us back to God through Him:
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. -John 12
Through baptism in water, we demonstrate that, by faith, we spiritually follow Him into His death and then live with Him in His resurrection (see Romans 6:3-10). Through that faith, we are "born again," not in the flesh, but in the Spirit into a kingdom that is ruled by the Spirit of God:
5 Yahshua answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again. -John 3
Being born again of the Spirit means that, although we still have physical bodies, our true home is not in the flesh. It is in the Spirit of God, which is also the Spirit of the Messiah, which dwells in us:
9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not theSpirit of the Messiah, he is none of his. -Romans 8
While still occupying physical bodies in a physical world, we have been born of God and have overcome the power that the "prince of this world" had over us:
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. -1 John 5
Satan no longer rules over us. Through the Spirit of God, we are restored back to the position that we once had with Him. We are restored as eternal spiritual beings, as the adopted "sons of God:"
10 And if the Messiah is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up the Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. -Romans 8
Through Yahshua the Messiah, we, who are spiritual beings, are rescued from the fate of death that awaits our fleshly bodies. As long as the Spirit of God reigns in us, we are no longer condemned. We have victory over the law of sin and death:
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in the Messiah Yahshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in the Messiah Yahshua has made me free from the law of sin and death. -Romans 8
*Shakespeare, William, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5, In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, http://shakespeare.mit.edu, 2008.
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