Partners with the Holy Spirit: Part #17

God and man interacted in a direct relationship. However, sin did not dare to face God! And therefore, the Israelites begged Moses to be the go-between them and God. Moses set up the Levites as the mediators, and the Church followed this tradition with the clery as the “go between” God and man. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit took over the role of the mediator. The Holy Spirit directly became available to every person.

How God Stays in Touch with Man

The celebration of Christmas is the celebration of the “Presence of God” with man, whom God (Elohim) created to represent God’s image and likeness in the world. (During our celebration of Christmas and Easter, we shall delay our study of the "Covenant" with God). God returned to the world on Christmas Day to renew His relationship with man. Our Christmas is actually the Lord God’s second visit on earth, in order to restore “His Image” in man. Christmas was planned before creation! Christmas was renewed in Bethlehem! And Christmas shall be completed at the "Return of Christ." Christ was not just born in Bethlehem; for, Christ was before time began. And Christ was the author of creation! John Zebedee, Paul the Apostle, and the writer to the Hebrews provide us with the insight. Let us follow the NIV in this study.

Restoring God’s Image and Likeness in Man

The stoning of Stephen was a profound awakening for the disciples, who had settled in at Jerusalem to preach only to the Jews and not to the Gentiles. Two other men who were chosen with Stephen that would bring the Gospel to the Gentiles were Philip and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. There also was one more person, without whose advice and help the Jerusalem group may not have survived and the Gentiles would never have had Paul bring them the Gospel. Luke, who knew him personally, introduced him, “Thus Joseph who was surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means, Son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field which belonged to him, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36). This man was a cousin of Saul, who became Paul. Joseph introduced Paul to the apostles and to Nicolaus of Antioch, to teach the people in Antioch. And the two, Paul and Barnabas, became the first commissioned missionaries. Now Philip had an extraordinary mission to perform.

Partners with the Holy Spirit: Part #26

Baptism had become a problem for the people, who became ill and could not be immersed. A prominent person named Novatian became very ill and could not be immersed. His case was referred to Bishop Cyprian in Carthage, Africa. So, Bishop Cyprian argued that sprinkling was as efficient as washing and immersing; and therefore, the amount of water did not diminish the “Baptism’s Power” to regenerate and to save. The eadersor Bishops accepted Cyprian’s opinion and upheld it when Novatian recovered and refused to be immersed.

The Covenant is God’s Will for Man

Jeroboam became for the Jewish historians, the reason for Israel’s failure to abide by their "Covenant" with Yahweh. All the prophets were sent to chastise Jeroboam for abandoning Solomon’s abusage of Yahwehism; particularly, the moral and the priestly codes of the "Covenant." Ultimately, Jeroboam would be blamed for the demise of Israel and Judah. Naturally, Jeroboam defied Judah’s interference.

Restoring God’s Image and Likeness in Man

Paul and Barnabas came to Iconium with joy and with great expectations; however, they nearly escaped with their lives. False Jewish prophets began to follow the messengers of Christ and incited hatred against Jesus’ followers. Paul and Barnabas had to flee to Lystra. And even then, the enemies followed and preceded them. Also, the use of a miracle was being misinterpreted, which added fuel for the opposition. They stoned Paul and left him for dead. Obviously by this time, it became apparent that the Gentiles had no future living among the Jews. Therefore, the Gentiles and the Jews had to go their separate ways.

The Covenant is God’s Will for Man

Solomon was a great lover. And he also was a great spender. He loved women, a thousand of them. Solomon used the women to further his political and his social career. Solomon's golden tongue served him well in poetry and in bits of wisdom that puzzled his followers. At the end, his revenues could not sustain the nation's elaborate religious system and the heavily "militaristic monarchy."