Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Isaiah prophesied boldly about Jesus.
For to us a child is born,The government will be on his shoulder.
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
Of the increase of his
government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign … over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
The simple reading of this text is that Jesus will be the government
from that time forward and forever.
So why does Barack Obama think that he should be the government?
or David Cameron, or Angela Merkel, or Nicolas Sarkozy, or Tony Abbott, or John Key?
Why do we put our faith in democracy?
Why do we think that we can vote in a new government,
At the next election?
Herod understood Isaiah's prophecy.
He knew that his government was a goner,
so he tried to kill Jesus,
but he was still a goner.
Mary understood it too. That is why she said,
Kings would be thrown down from their thrones
and the humble raised up.
Satan understood the threat.
That is why he came up with clever deception that
this prophecy is "Not for now, but for later",
"Jesus government comes at the end of the age."
You could trust Satan to thrust his shoulder in.
The government is on Jesus shoulder.
He will govern with justice and righteousness.
and his government will never shop increasing.
The Zeal of the Lord will do it.
Not in the future.
From that time on and forever.
We had better work out what this means.
Monday, December 23, 2013
I am amazed at all the effort people put into making Christmas special,
serious money on presents decorations and food,
serious time preparing food and getting the house ready.
I don’t get it.
If we half understood the incarnation,
out hears would be buzzing,
without any need for the hype.
God has come to us.
We did not have to go to him,
which is just as well because we couldn’t.
Humans had shut God out of the world he had created and given to us.
We had given the world he entrusted to us, over to a destroyer,
but he has broken back into his world to set us free.
God has come to us as a human person,
who we can relate to,
not as an important dignitary, we have to make an appointment to see;
or flying in as a superman, filling us with fear and terror;
but as a baby, among the animals outside the house,
vulnerable and open in the midst of life.
God came to us;
to relate to us, and be our friends;
by defeating evil, and rescue the world;
to restore creation and establish a peaceful kingdom.
The birth of Jesus was the biggest game-changer in history;
something so wonderful should not have happened.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Buying and selling in a free market is lawful, unless there is coercion involved. However, the employer-employee relationship is not a pure market relationship. Once a person is dependent on employment, they have limited their freedom, so some market transactions become coercive for them.
When you employ someone, you are taking time from them, so you have a moral responsibility to ensure they have sufficient income to live from day to day. It is not sufficient to pay a market price.
A starving person is not free. When a person is in extreme poverty, they are vulnerable. Some market transactions become coercive, because they have to sell their labour to survive. They poor person does not have the option of rejecting a poor offer for their labour, because freedom to choose starvation instead, is not true freedom.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
In the past few weeks, I have watched a couple of episodes of Undercover Boss. I think it is a bit dishonest. The way that the boss throws the company’s money around at the end, so that he appears kind and generous, is a bit cheesy. These bosses have no idea how productive their staff are. They are paying these staff less than they are worth (that is why they feel they need to give them something to compensate them). The boss only identifies a few of their good performers. All the others in the business are not recognised and will probably continue to be unrewarded. Most bosses do not know what is going on in their business. They are surprised by the negative consequences of many head office decisions. When they find a bad employee, they usually fire them. Although the undercover bosses have not been doing their job properly, and are not as productive as they think they are, they never suggest taking a pay cut (a double standard).
However, I find it interesting from an economic perspective. One of the principles of economics is that in a market economy people get paid according to their productivity. If employees want more pay, they need to be more productive.
The undercover bosses find a few duds, but mostly they are surprised by the dedication and enthusiasm of their staff. They are so impressed that they want to do something them to bless them.
The interesting thing is that economic practice does not match economic theory.
Contrary to economic theory, the program shows that productivity and remuneration are often disconnected.
These bosses have no idea how productive their staff are.
They are paying these staff less than they are worth (that is why they feel they need to give them something to compensate them).
The boss only identifies a few of their good performers. All the others in the business are not recognised and will probably continue to be unrewarded.
Most bosses do not know what is going on in their business. They are surprised by the negative consequences of many head office decisions.
When they find a bad employee, they usually fire them.
Although the undercover bosses have not been doing their job properly, and are not as productive as they think they are, they never suggest taking a pay cut (a double standard).
Monday, December 16, 2013
Issues of politics, government, economics, business and money cannot be resolved from the message of Jesus in the gospel and the epistles. They gospels and the epistles do not contain enough material for a system of government or economics. The church is then forced back to nature to find solutions. It defaults to government as the source of justice, with the church trying to take political power to modify justice.
The thing that is missed by both the Anabaptists and Reformed of all types is that God gave his system of government and economic system in the Torah. His is a radically different approach, with no central government, where leaders and judges emerge out of local communities, where problems of poverty and inequality are dealt with in local communities, where defence is controlled by local communities no a centralised standing army.
Jesus pointed back to the Torah on many issues of economics and government. He confirmed the teaching of the Torah in the Sermon on the Mount after talking about being the light of the world (Matt 5:13-20). He rejected the teachings of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law, because they undermined Torah teaching, so the people could wiggle out of it. His teaching about giving and lending was a challenge to his listeners to get back to the Torah economy that the Romans and the Sadducees were destroying. He was able to speak about unrighteous money, because it was clearly defined in the Torah.
Christians seemed to have missed this, because they cannot see the trees for the dead leaves of legalism. They are forced instead to either look in vain in the gospels, or go back to nature for teaching about political and economic systems.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Solomon could have been a great prophet. God gave him amazing wisdom, because he asked for discernment to administer justice. Kings and powerful men came to him from all over the world for advice. He could have used the opportunity this authority provided to release God to work among the nations. He could have taught them the glory of God’s law.
Solomon missed a great opportunity, because he took their wealth, married their daughters, and gave their gods a home in the land. Instead of using his wisdom to expand God’s authority on earth, he undermined his authority in Israel by surrendering to false gods.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
When David spoke to Solomon near the end of his life, his misquoted what God said, probably because he did not understand it.
You will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever (1 Chron 22:9-10).David was wrong because God had not promised that Solomon’s throne would last forever. He had not said that Solomon would build a temple.
Solomon took David at his word. He told Hiram King of Tyre about his plans.
I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David (1 Kings 5:5).He spoke with the pagan King of Tyre, but did not hear from God directly, although wisdom was the gift that God had given him.
In contrast to the tabernacle, God never gave Solomon instructions for the temple. The design adopted was a human design. The Bible records a description of the temple (1 Kings 6), but there are no instructions about how it should be built. 1 Samuel 6,7 describes the building. It is full of Solomon did, did, did, but "God said" is never mentioned.
The furniture for the temple was made by foreign artisans.
King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze (1 Kings 7:13-14).This contrasts with the tabernacle, where the furniture was made by men that God had chosen and filled with the Spirit, like Bezalel, son of Uri.
He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts (Ex 35:31-33).The materials for the tabernacle were given by the people. The materials for the temple were purchased from the nations. The tabernacle was a work of the Sprit, whereas the temple was a human work.
When Solomon dedicated the temple, Solomon did all the talking (1 Kings 5-8). God hardly spoke, but he did fill it with his glory, because he is not peevish. He honoured Solomon’s intention, even if his plan was wrong. His brief statement is interesting.
I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever (1 Kings 9:3).This is very understated. God is clear that Solomon built the temple, and he was blessing what Solomon did. God never said that he commanded Solomon to build a temple. This contrasts with the tabernacle, which he said, “I commanded you to build”.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Nathan the prophet told David not to build a temple (2 Sam 7:4). Then reason given was that David had blood on his hands.
You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight (1 Chron 22:8).David assumed that this meant that the son who succeeded him would build the temple, so he set about getting the materials ready. He gathered up gold and silver, and cedars from Lebanon. This was a bit presumptuous, because had not given him a blueprint, so he did not know that God wanted cedars.
Most Christians agree that God wanted Solomon to build the temple, but that assumption is not correct. There is no record in the scriptures of God telling Solomon to build a temple. The reason is that he was not qualified to do it either. Solomon had blood on his hands like his Father. He had killed his brother to secure his throne (1 Kings 2:25), and organised for his some of David’s loyal soldiers to be slaughtered (1 Kings 2:31,46).
We need to look more closely at what God said to David.
When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Sam 7:12-13).God said that a descendant of David would build a house of him and that the throne of kingdom would be established forever. This cannot be a reference to Solomon, because his dynasty did not last forever. His son Rehoboam lost half the kingdom, and the rest disappeared with the Babylonian exile. This prophecy rules out Solomon as the one who was to build the temple.
Jesus was the descendant of David who established a Kingdom that will last forever. This means that he is the one whom God intended to build a temple. God fulfilled this promise through Jesus. He said,
Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days… But the temple he had spoken of was his body (John 2 20-21).The body of Christ is the temple of the Holy Spirit that Jesus built for God to dwell on earth.
Jesus blood from his hands and side, not on his hands, made it possible for the Holy Spirit to live in human hearts. This was the temple that God really wanted. Until Jesus came, God would have been quite happy living in a tent. A temple of gold and stone was not much use to him, because he really wanted to tabernacle in human hearts.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
God did not want a temple. He was quite happy in a tent.
God explicitly told Moses to build a tabernacle (Ex 25:8-9). He gave very precise instructions about the materials it was to be built from. He specified its exact dimensions. Moses built it exactly as it was revealed to him on the mountain. When it was complete, God filled it with his presence. In Exodus 40:1, God told Moses to set it up. The remainder of the chapter says “as the Lord commanded” seven times.
People assume that once Israel was in the Land, and not travelling around, God wanted a permanent temple to replace the tabernacle, but there is no record of him saying this. God told Nathan the opposite.
I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar (2 Sam 7:6-7)?A stone temple was just another idea copied from the surrounding nations.
David wanted to build a temple. He seemed to be motivated by embarrassment that he had a better dwelling than the Lord.
Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent (2 Sam 7:2).That was not a very good motivation. God had not told him to build a temple. No prophet commanded him to do it. It was just a good idea.
Monday, December 09, 2013
Some commentators are suggesting that the US cannot afford a federally-funded health care system. This is a bit odd. The New Zealand economy is much smaller than the US economy, but our state funded system provides health services that are as good as those available in the current US system. I am not advocating socialist health care, but the argument that the US cannot afford it is a bit weak.
The problem with Obamacare is that it is not that it is socialist, but is actually a crony capitalist healthcare system, based on Romneycare and cobbled together to meet the needs of the insurance companies. Any system that is based on them will be unaffordable, because they are the reason why health care in the US costs nearly twice as much as in the rest of the world. With increasing availability of expensive health technology, a system based on an insurance company oligarchy is bound to fail.
Obamacare will fail, because it is not possible to escape the curse by human means. Neither the state, nor business can beat the curse of sickness. The only realistic option is Jesuscare, which is based on the gift of healing.
I wish the American prophets were as stirred up about the lack of healing gifts in the church, as they are about Obamacare.
Saturday, December 07, 2013
I have just read “It takes a Pillage” by Naomi Prins. She tells the story of the Global Financial Crisis.
In a chapter called “This was Never about the Little Guy” she says,
Here are some numbers for you. There were approximately $1.4 trillion worth of subprime loans outstanding in the United States by the end of 2007. By May 2009, there were foreclose filings against approximately 5.1 million properties. If it was only the subprime markets fault, $1.4 trillion would have covered the entire problem, right?Paulson was not very sympathetic to struggling homeowners. He was happy to spend trillions of dollars bailing out his mates in the finance sector, but he expected home owners to bear the consequences of their “untenable financial decisions”. Just a small double standard.
Yet the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and the FDIC formed out more than $13 trillion to fix the “housing correction” as Hank Paulson steadfastly referred to the second Great Banked Depression as late as November 20, 2008, while he was treasury secretary. With that money, the government could have bought up every residential mortgage in their country-there were about $11.0 trillion worth at the end of December 2008- and still have had a trillion left over to buy homes for every single American who couldn’t afford them and pay their health care to boot.
“Due to the lax credit and underwriting standards of the past years, some people took out mortgages they can possibly afford and they will lose their homes”, Paulson said with an assassin’s calm on July 8. “There is little public policy makers can or should do to compensate for untenable financial decisions.” He further argued against government intervention in the mortgage market because an undefined “some” people might make a wick profit by flipping homes.I am puzzled why the prophets who are so agitated about Obama’s socialist health care scheme, were not equally stirred up by Bush’s finance sector socialism.
“Now that their investments have not turned out as they had hoped, these people may walk away, even thought the can afford their mortgage payment” he said. “These borrowers can should be living up to their mortgage commitment-government intervention here would be inappropriate”.
Friday, December 06, 2013
When Jesus ascended into heaven, God said to him.
Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet....Jesus will sit at the right hand of God until his church has defeated his enemies and established his Kingdom. Then when the commission is complete and the Kingdom has fulfilled all prophecies, Jesus will appear to receive the victory that his church has established for him.
Your troops will be willing on your day of battle (Psalm 110:1,3).
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (1 Cor 15:24,25).
The impact of this event on spiritual authority and the consequences for humans are described in Times and Seasons.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
The Kingdom of God might continue for thousands of years, so the full numbers of people can come to faith. When all God’s promises and purposes have been fulfilled on earth, he will allow an authority shift that brings that season to an end. The devil and his forces will be released and given authority for one last time.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison (Rev 20:7).He does not escape, but is released by the Holy Spirit for a specific reason.
God demonstrates his infinite mercy by giving Satan one last chance to redeem himself. He was created by God for a special purpose, but fell from his exalted position and became the enemy of good. Despite the terrible harm he has done to the world, God will give him one last chance to fulfil his calling before the end of the age. He will never be able to accuse God of not being gracious.
The devil will not take the opportunity given to him, but will go out to do evil by attempting to get back his authority on earth (Rev 20:8). To score a victory over Jesus, he will stir up rebellion among the nations. He is not creative, so he just uses the same lies about God that he used at the beginning.
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction (2 Thes 2:3).An evil man called the Man of Lawlessness will lead a rebellion against God’s law at the end of the age. He will be destroyed by the Appearance of Jesus.
When he emerges the Man of Lawlessness will appear to be wise and good, but his true nature will soon be exposed.
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing (2 Thes 2:9-10).These, signs and wonders refer to his attempt to improve society using political power and human government.
Lawlessness is not the absence of law. It is rejecting God’s law and replacing it with human laws. The Man of Lawlessness will claim that the world has changed and that God’s law is not sufficiently sophisticated to be a basis for justice in a modern world. He will advocate a return to democracy as a superior form of government. People who feel maligned by God’s justice will join him in his efforts to establish new laws using democratic processes. The Man of Lawlessness will stir up discontent and instigate a rebellion against God.
The devil will succeed in building support, but he will not achieve his objective. He will be destroyed by the last big authority shift.
Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his appearing (2 Thes 2:8).The Man of Lawlessness and his followers will be destroyed by the splendour of Jesus’ appearance.
This brief season at the end of history will reveal the true character of evil. The people of the world will get a brief taste of its horrors. After this experience, it will be obvious that the devil and his followers deserve their fate (Rev 20:10).
I describe this short season more fully in Times and Seasons.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Every believer can pray and release to work in areas where they have authority. Prophets have an important role, because God tells them in advance what he plans to do. When the prophet announces what God is going to do, people assume they just foretelling the future, but that really misses the point. Sometimes it tells his people how to prepare, but God is not really interested foretelling the future just to boost his prophet’s egos.
Something more important is going on. When a prophet declares what God is intending to do, it gives God authority to do what he wants to do. Prophets are humans with authority on earth, giving God permission to intervene and accomplish his purposes. Nothing much happens in the spiritual realms without a declaration on earth.
Prophets were often linked with kings and emperors. When these powerful men submitted to a prophet for wisdom and guidance, they amplified the authority of the prophet. This increased the prophet’s authority to release God to act on earth. Daniel had enormous spiritual authority, because the rulers of the Babylonian Empire submitted to him.
An individual prophet hiding in the wilderness does not have much authority, so will have limited ability to give permission to act on earth. God cannot do much in the wilderness. A prophet with a place in the palace has much greater authority. He has scope to release God’s purposes throughout the kingdom.
Prophets are called to stand in the council of the Lord. When they know what God wants to do, their role is to declare it and pray. The prayer is as important as the declaration, because it gives God permission to do what he wants to do. If the prophet does not declare the word and pray, God is not able to do what he wants to do, because humans have not given him permission to act on earth.
The prayers of the prophets are different from the prayers of the intercessors. Intercessors feel the heart of God and know the things that he wants to do, but cannot, because no one has given him permission. The intercessor cannot give him permission, because they do not have much authority, but they share the pain of his restrained authority. They can also pray that the prophets will step up.
Prophets touch the will of God and know the things that he wants to do. They declare and pray so that he has permission to his will on earth. They look to victory, because they have authority to release his restrained authority.
A prophet gains authority when their words are fulfilled. When people trust their words, they are submitting to their wisdom. The more that people trust the authority of the prophet’s words, the greater authority they have to release the Holy Spirit to work on earth.
Samuel is a marvellous example.
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel… recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord (1 Sam 3:19-20).Samuel had spiritual authority in Israel. God was able to do great things in Israel throughout his life, because Samuel’s prophecies gave God permission to act on earth.
A prophet needs a place to stand, where their authority is amplified by powerful humans submitting to them for wisdom and guidance.
Prophets and other people with authority should be careful how the speak. Declarations made from their own hearts can releases the forces of evil. Ahab’s prophets released a lying spirit, by speaking deceptive words (1 Kings 22). Evil spirits will grab any opportunity given to them by idle words spoken by people with authority (Matt 12:26).
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Not far from here, a big city mayor, who had just been elected for another three years, announced that he had been having an affair for more than a year.
The political pundits say his private life is irrelevant, because he is good at his job. The problem is that they do not understand the spiritual side of life. When a man commits adultery, he opens himself up to spirits of deception and spirits of manipulation.
When these spirits get hold of a person with political authority, they amplify their power. All the people who have submitted to their political power are opened up to the same spirit.
So the mayor’s private affair has a much greater effect than the pundits realise. We can expect to see these spirits manifesting throughout the city over the next few years.
Remember, when people submit to a political leader, they are also submitting to the spirits that control him, whether principalities and powers, or common and garden variety evil spirits.
Most people would be wary of submitting to a man with a spirit of deception, but those who voted for the mayor have just done that.
This is why democracy is spiritually dangerous. If a dictator takes control of our nation, we do not need to submit to him. However, in a democracy we submit to whomever the process throws up, simply by voting. We do not know who we will end up submitting to.
Monday, December 02, 2013
The next big shift in the history of authority comes at the end of the Times of the Gentiles. Jesus had warned the people of Israel that their nation would be left desolate, if they rejected him.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate (Matt 23:37-38).He followed up with a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem. Luke’s record of this prophetic warning called it the Times of the Gentiles.
Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).The destruction of Jerusalem marked the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles. Jesus used this name, because during this season, most Jews will be absent from his Kingdom.
During the Times of the Gentiles, Satan retains one small piece of legal authority on earth, despite his defeat on the cross. Because the Jews are under judgment (Matt 23:39), he has the legal right to work harm against them. By deliberately scattered the Jews among the nations, he has expanded this power to work all over the world.
Whenever, Satan wants to work evil in a nation, he incites an attack on the Jews, because this gives him greater authority to do his work. For example, Satan incited both Hitler and Stalin to attack the Jews, which enabled him to do great evil.
Jesus judgment of Israel gave Satan legal authority to continue working in the world, despite his defeat. This authority has obstructed the advance of the Kingdom. The extension of the Times of the Gentiles for 2000 years has allowed the devil extra time to resist the Kingdom.
The major event that ends the Times of the Gentiles is the calling of the Jews. This event will a huge turning point in history, as Satan will be stripped of his last vestige of authority when Israel comes to faith. Zechariah promised that God would pour out his Spirit on Israel.
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son (Zech 12:10).This is the moment of Israel’s conversion. At the end of Times of the Gentiles, the Spirit of the Lord will be poured out on the hearts of all Israel. They will receive a Spirit of supplication that causes them to cry out to Jesus for salvation. The Spirit of grace will give them faith to receive the salvation that comes through grace.
When the season of Jewish desolation comes to an end, Satan’s last legal authority on earth will be gone. His power to do evil will be massively curtailed. Christians will be fully empowered, and he will become as weak and feeble as he really is.
But if their transgression means riches for the world, The fullness of Israel brings great blessing to the earth, because Satan will have lost his authority to work on earth, God will then be free to pour out his Spirit and bring the Kingdom to its promised fulfilment.
and their loss means riches for the Gentiles,
how much greater riches will their fullness bring (Rom 11:12).
When the Times of the Gentiles come to an end and the fullness of Israel has come in, the last obstacle to the Kingdom of God will be gone. The gospel will spread rapidly and powerfully until most people on the earth believe in Jesus and choose to follow him. Most authority will be in the hands of people who have submiited to Jesus and obey his commands by following the voice of the Holy Spirit.
I describe this season in full in my book Times and Seasons.