PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: XV

Moses, himself, had come to the conclusion that God had bigger and better things in mind for man. God was not about to let Satan destroy “His Image” and “His Likeness” in man. God let Moses have a glimpse of the person who would set man free from Satan’s dominion over the flesh.

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren—him you shall heed—just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They have rightly said all that they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:15-22).

MANY OBSTACLES WOULD STAND IN THE WAY FOR ANOTHER “ONE” LIKE MOSES

Moses, himself, could not accomplish what he had hoped for. Will the “One,” whom Moses predicted, be able to save Israel? To look ahead, Jesus made this curious comment while He was on the way to Golgotha, and before Jesus was taken He pleaded and He also predicted Israel’s destiny:

And as they led him (Jesus) away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’ Then they will being to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:26-31).

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Moses was chosen to fulfill the promise God had made to Abraham, that his seed would become a nation that would bring Jesus, the Son of God, into the world. Israel was to play a redemptive role, a purpose, that a people without the Spirit of God, cannot and would not understand. What the Apostle Paul said about the Corinthians was also true of Moses’ people (I Corinthians 2:6-16). The rebels regarded Moses and Aaron as their enemies. And they led the faithful people to believe that God was behind their hardships, their suffering, and their dying. All evil is the fruit of Satan and not of God! God’s Spirit was present to limit Satan, the destroyer, with the plagues, snakebites, and even with death. If Satan had his way, Moses and Aaron would have been killed, and Israel would have returned to Egypt. God did not let the rebels of evil have their way! God did not let the serpent kill them. However, God let the rebels live out their lives in the desert — wandering in circles for forty years. To remind the Israelites of the cause behind their calamities and their delays to move on, God had them make a statue of a “Bronze Serpent.” The people just presumed that the snake saved them (Numbers 16, 17, 21). Some may think that Jesus exalted the serpent as having redemptive qualities. If we do, then remember who offered Jesus the world kingdoms and riches (Matthew 4:8-10)? And whom did the Jewish leaders serve (John 8:42-27)? Nicodemus was one of the leaders who had to replace the serpent with the Son of Man, so that he and his people could be saved (John 4:11-14).

Satan was not and is not a savior! Nevertheless, Satan is the destroyer! And Satan is the “angel of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15). In Moses’ time, the gods could do both: good and bad. The Hebrews were led to believe that Satan, the destroyer, was under God’s orders to kill the first-born Egyptians. When in reality, Yahweh stood between Satan, the destroyer, and all other lives (Exodus 12:23). Yahweh did continue to stand between Israel and her enemies, which led to the belief that God was on Israel’s side, and that God endorsed their killings and their subjection of their enemies. God, literally made physical heroes like Gideon, Samson, David, and Solomon. Even when they did wrong, their deeds were sanctioned by God as being necessary to survive. Man has yet to accept the fact that God cannot hand out favor — because all men and all women house “God’s Life-Breathing Spirit” in their flesh (Acts 10:34-48). Jesus had told his disciple to pray constantly, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew  6:13). It is very doubtful that Jesus had God in mind, who is good and fatherly, as being a tempter. Jesus simply expressed what people commonly believed. Jesus’ followers, James, John Zebedee, Peter, Jude, and even Paul believed that man tempts himself by partnering with Satan, the devil. And therefore, man can resist Satan, the devil, by partnering with God and with Christ:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted of God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire (James 1:13-15).

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He commits sin if of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil: no one who does not do right is of God, nor any one who does not love his brother (I John 3:7-10).

Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist hi, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish and strengthen you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen (I Peter 5:6-11).

Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that he (Yahweh) who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, have been afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Go-morrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by the winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether bloom of darkness has been reserved forever.

It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are the grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh (Jude 1:5-23).

I (Paul) want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same supernatural food, and drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, ad the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance.” We must not indulge n immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put the Lor to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who things that he stand take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (I Corinthians 10:1-13)

MOSES’ PLEA TO KEEP HIS GENERATION ALIVE FAILED

The Hebrews believed that God did become angry with them for their disobedience and for their unbelief. Twice, Moses swayed God from ending their existence, and build a new nation with Moses (Exodus 32:9-10; Numbers 1:11-12). Moses also was told that Yahweh pardoned his generation (Numbers 1:20). But, what did God mean by forgiveness? Did God overlook their sins and let them go on to Canaan as if nothing had happened, as so many people are led to believe? Forgiveness did not exempt the Israelites from paying for their blundering with God and with man. The desert served as their prison for forty years, and their families were jailed with them. Their children had to reap and harvest what the sins of their fathers had planted and had sown (Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18). What a tragedy! Their sins and their transgressions left behind for their descendants to clean up before they could inherit the promised land. Instead of partnering with Yahweh, the rebels wanted to serve Pharaoh.

And the LORD’S anger was kindled on that day, and He swore, saying, ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me; none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD.’ And the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was consumed. And behold, you have risen in your fathers’ stead, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the LORD against Israel! For if you turn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness; and you will destroy all this people (Numbers 32:10-15).

The idea that God was using evil means and evil ways to correct and to punish Israel, in order to preserve and save Israel, is contrary to God’s nature. I learned this in my own life when I was physically disabled to earn a living with my hands. I came from a religious background that believed that God did punish man for their wrong doing. For a long time,I too believed that I had done something wrong and that God had punished me rather severely. The truth was that I was punishing myself for an accident, which was caused by a mistake and not by God. In fact, God saved me from dying, without a legacy, of having served God and mankind. Before I had the accident, God used several people to save me from dying, but I was too blind to perceive the Spirit of God in my life and I was unaware that I was to partner with the Holy Spirit. For me, God turned bad things into good things and not the other way around. It is in that sense, that I perceive evil at work in all of us and the Holy Spirit is the only “One” who can cast evil out.

According to Jesus, evil is not God’s product! Evil is Satan’s, the devil’s product (John 8:44). Satan, by his very nature, cannot make things right. Satan cannot cast himself out! And Satan even can not cast out his own demons, as some accused Jesus of that fallacy. It is God’s Holy Spirit that is able to cast out demons, and thus save the human soul. It was God who was saving Israel from self-destruction, and not Satan, his symbol, the serpent. Jesus addressed this issue when the Pharisees accused Him of working for and with Satan, the devil:

But when the Pharisees heard it they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man (Jesus) casts out demons.” Knowing Their thoughts, he said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matthew 12:24-28).