(Mailing list lost last September in a computer crash. Please send me an email if you wish to be on my new, restored mailing list.)Newsletter #120
Jesus Takes a Bride
In the Old Testament, YHWH is pictured as married to Israel. God is pictured as coming across an abandoned baby girl, left in the desert to die (Ezekiel 16). YHWH is described as pouring His love into this helpless infant, “doting” over her until she was grown. When she was grown, the Lord “married” her, intending to faithfully love and prosper her forever. But soon she was lured astray by lust-filled pagan lovers. Her “harlotry” became so severe that her heart-broken husband was forced to finally divorce her. There was no other option for a marriage contracted under the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses. Finally, unable to live without her, YHWH sought his ex-wife, depicted as she was being sold on the slave market. The Old Testament book of Hosea depicts this great love-story symbolic of God’s historical calling of Abraham and Sarah from Ur in Southern Iraq. They were to to leave their relatives and family, moving West to what is now Israel, to become the progenitors of a new nation of several million persons. Through this chosen people a Messiah, a Savior, HaMaschiah, would come. Through Messiah, restoration of mankind’s broken and lost condition, (Israel, but also the entire human race) would be made possible.
Almost twenty-six hundred years ago the people of Israel were exiled from their own land in accordance with the Covenant of the Land, which had been added to the Mosaic Covenant. Thus in 586 BC, the Lord exiled Israel from their own land off to Babylon for their serious failure in regard to the Land Covenant, emblematic of the nation’s long-term failure to honor their Lord by failing to pay attention to their personal relationship with Him (Jeremiah 25). As an intimate and loving Person, YHWH seeks His chosen people in every age and every dispensation, calling us to be responsive lovers and friends. The symbolism of marriage highlights the fact that YHWH deals with compassion and patience and longsuffering, with any and all who enter into a covenant commitment with Him. But we human beings are fallen and deeply sinful. Whereas all sin can be forgiven when the offending party appeals to God for forgiveness, all sin has ongoing consequences. The symbolism of Lover and Beloved is intended to tell us about the long-term commitment God makes with us when we acknowledge His Lordship over all areas of our lives. But we know that not all marriages succeed the first time around.
Israel’s first exile in 586 BC was a mere 70 years. Her second exile from her land beginning in 70 AD, has lasted nearly 2000 years. That second exile formally came to an end on May 14, 1948, when Israel was called back to the land and given international status as a nation. Why the second exile, and why 2000 years? Israel’s rejection of Yeshua (Jesus) as King and Messiah, took place on the exact day prophesied in advance by Daniel the prophet. Rejection of her legitimate Messiah by virtually the entire nation resulted in God’s symbolic divorce of his wife. Even so, in that dark hour, God promised an ultimate restoration of the nation Israel. That restoration began in the late 19th Century. The first major milestone for Israel’s future was declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948.
Yeshua Hamaschiah was born in Bethlehem exactly as predicted by Israel’s prophets. He called 12 disciples and taught them, and all who would listen, wonderful new truth going well-beyond the previous Mosaic Covenant. On the night of His betrayal, (He was crucified the next morning), Jesus Christ established a New Covenant with Israel, extending the terms to the entire world (Jeremiah 31:31ff, and Hebrews). The generous terms of the New Covenant were made possible because Yeshua voluntarily made Himself available to God as a single, perfect sacrifice fully atoning for all the sins of mankind from Adam and Eve down to the close of human procreation, which is captured in John's letter.
“And He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the entire world.” (1 John 2:2)
Though He is fully human, Jesus Christ is also fully God. Before the history of man was initiated, Jesus and God the Father planned for man’s redemption by means of the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus to provide justice in the court room of a Holy God, and to supply “imputed” righteousness to what would become the very lost, spiritually bankrupt human family. Sin did not elude our first parents for very long! God anticipated it and provided for it.
Late in His ministry, while they were traveling in Northern Israel, Jesus announced that He was planning on building a new company of believers who would be invited to know the God of Israel through the munificent terms of the New Covenant. That chosen group, the church, is nowhere mentioned in the Old Testament, and hence is said to be a “mystery.” In the Bible, a mystery is a body of truth previously hidden but later made known in the announcement of Jesus and the preaching of the disciples, (now known as Apostles).
Family life in Israel today shows that the roots of this unique nation extend back to Moses and the examples of the lives of their founding fathers: Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Judah. In traditional Jewish families sons often marry early in life as soon as they are able to support a bride and to commence raising children. Mary, the Virgin, became pregnant by the Holy Spirit before her marriage to Joseph. Joseph and Mary subsequently raised additional sons and daughters. Apparently Joseph died early, forcing Jesus to take on the role of family breadwinner until he was about 30 years old.
Logically Jesus could have married as early as 16 or 18 years old, except for two things. One factor, just mentioned, was his responsibility as the Firstborn to care for his widowed mother Mary and his younger half-brothers and half-sisters. The second factor was the calling of God. Jesus’ primary reason for coming into the world was to become a sacrificial victim providing a means for lost sinners in the line of Adam and Eve to be forgiven and restored to everlasting life. His teaching ministry and the healings of many who were sick, leprous, blind or dying, was an “extra”, since it was Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross that was the only way sinful humans could be made new and eligible to know God as a family member.
The New Testament reveals God’s calling of this new group of people from every nation, His church, or, “the Bride of Christ” (Ephesians 5). She is the partner and companion of Jesus called out of the world while Israel was scattered in their second exile. Israel is symbolically the wife of God. Her original marriage is soon to be restored in history today, all because of Messiah’s reconciling work on the cross. All those men and women, boys and girls who have opened their hearts to Jesus as Lord, have been spiritually reborn. They constitute (figuratively) the “Bride of Christ” in New Testament terminology.
Some today have assumed that God has permanently divorced His people, Israel. To the contrary, much of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, clearly defines the future place of restored Israel. Israel is to be the Head of the nations of earth during a coming time of restoration. Romans chapters 9, 10, and 11 is very clear ---God will keep His ancient promises to Israel and to all individuals who have established a covenant relationship with Him.
The population of Israel when she was living in her land was generally about 2 to 3 million men, women, and children.
The Church of Jesus Christ has a “heavenly calling” and is in fact a more numerous group of people. The birthday of Christ’s church was the Day of Pentecost, seven Sabbaths plus one day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Population studies (http://www.ldolphin.org/popul.html) show that the total number of people born over the past 2000 years, has been about 108 billion (http://www.prb.org). Taking a conservative estimate, I suggest that 10% of the people born since Pentecost have heard and believed in Jesus Christ as Lord. We belong to the one true Church of Jesus Christ, that is, we are His Bride, which I estimate to number about 10 billion persons!
The present population of earth is around 7.2 billion souls (http://census.gov). Were Jesus Christ to take His entire composite Bride, a heavenly people, to earth for a vacation, we’d be hard pressed to find room. Obviously 10 billion people can’t rendezvous with Jesus when He is sitting on His throne in Jerusalem!
The answer to these dilemmas is that every true follower of Jesus receives a sinless new body, a body which has marvelous innovations and updates. The bodies we live in now are copied from an original design after our Father Adam, about 8000 years ago (http://ldolphin.org/barrychron.html, http://ldolphin.org/comtime.html).
Our present bodies are hopelessly damaged by sin and limited to four dimensions. String Theory in modern physics suggests that we humans have been created to live in ten or more dimensions. Our heavenly home of New Jerusalem is described in the last book of the Bible, the Book of the Revelation, as having three equal spatial dimensions, each 1500 miles. Sort of an orbiting cube, perhaps? The outward appearance of the home Jesus is building for His Bride, the Church, may be misleading.
I personally suspect that the city of New Jerusalem may resemble Dr. Who’s TARDIS.
In his travels, the BBC SciFi Time Lord, Dr. Who, entered what looked like an old London police call booth, suitable for one occupant. But, upon entering, one finds that the interior of the TARDIS is much larger, more spacious, than the exterior dimensions suggest. The imagined TARDIS is a home-like comfortable space craft carefully travelling with (some) ease through time and space (Wikipedia has details).
Meanwhile down on earth, Jesus Christ is the most hated man who ever lived. Active evil agents in our present world are working overtime to kill the followers of Jesus and rid the planet of all records and traces of Jesus’ influence. These efforts by God’s enemies will all prove to be in vain and the tables will be turned around shortly. The plans of Jesus include reclaiming the planet He built in Genesis One, and providing a home better than any imagined Paradise for His heavenly people the Church.
Jesus is the central figure of all of history. Soon everyone will know clearly (whether they bow down by force or out of devotional recognition) who He is and what He has done for us.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
The Ultimate Wedding, by Bill Risk, www.ldolphin.org/risk/ult.shtml.
Love and Relationships: Song of Solomon, http://ldolphin.org/relationships.html.
Other: I apologize for losing newsletter contact with many dear friends.
I am alive and well, having turned 82 in May. I had a pacemaker installed this year and it has made a world of difference, as my heart was becoming irregular and not always beating on time. All fixed for now. I have been answering a lot of email every day, a real privilege. In the past year I have made a special effort to keep up with world events and the state of the church. I do need prayer as spiritual warfare levels have been soaring. I am way short on income at this time. I am very grateful for support funds in any amount. Your cash contributions may be sent to me through my PayPal Account http://www.ldolphin.org/donations.html. However, I am not able to provide a tax-deductible receipt if using PayPal. For a tax deductible receipt, donations must be made by check.
Mail a check, payable to Blue Letter Bible, to:
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Attn: Lambert Dolphin Ministries
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Contacting me: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://ldolphin.org; Apologetics and Q&A: http://paracleteforum.org; Previous newsletters: http://ldolphin.org/news. I try to answer all my email, but I am not very good at returning phone calls. Everything I have written ends up on my web site. Please visit there often and write me when you see something of interest.
September 3, 2014
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