The Garden Covenant?

God is not chaos; He never has been. He is the one who put things in order. The Creator of this universe, the one who hung the stars and created man; how could that be chaos? The chaos and disease comes from man, starting when we listened to a serpent and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We broke the rules, we usurped authority and have been doing so ever since. We have polluted His divine order. Each generation has corrupted it more and more. A generation in the Bible is 40 years. When it says, “this generation shall not pass” then that portion it is referring to, has already occurred. Think about that when you read the Bible.

Look at the Abrahamic covenant which was between God and Abraham. The only requirement was for Abraham to love God. The Mosaic covenant was one that the Hebrew people asked for, many times referred to as ‘the rules on rocks’ or the Ten Commandments. The Hebrews had rejected the Abrahamic covenant and Moses was trying to rescue his people from their idol worship and sins. When Moses came down from the mountain with the commandments, he saw them worshipping the golden calf and many living in sin. Moses broke the commandments out of frustration. It was a covenant that Moses had asked for, not God, but God in his sovereignty, made a covenant with man as arbiter and punisher, not God’s desire. Other covenants followed this one.

broken-tablets

Erroneously, modern day man looks at the Mosaic covenant or ten commandments – a covenant between God and the Hebrews, as the law on how to live one’s life. God redeemed the Hebrews/Israelis and everyone from the law when he sent Jesus to rescue us from the Mosaic covenant. We don’t have a set of rules to follow, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.

Luke 22:20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people-an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” John 16:7-9 “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 14:17 “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

God made a New Covenant with man that was (simplified version) if we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior we would live an eternal life. This returns us to God’s original purpose — for man to fellowship with God and love Him, very similar to the Abrahamic covenant, but more to the point, to the garden experience. We are joint heirs with Christ, born from above. Just as was said in the beginning, “let us create man in our own image.”

Hebrews 9:11-15 But when Christ appeared as a High Priest of the good things to come [that is, true spiritual worship], He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not a part of this [material] creation. He went once for all into the Holy Place [the Holy of Holies of heaven, into the presence of God], and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, having obtained and secured eternal redemption [that is, the salvation of all who personally believe in Him as Savior]. For if the sprinkling of [ceremonially] defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a [burnt] heifer is sufficient for the cleansing of the body, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal [Holy] Spirit willingly offered Himself unblemished [that is, without moral or spiritual imperfection as a sacrifice] to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the ever living God?For this reason He is the Mediator and Negotiator of a new covenant [that is, an entirely new agreement uniting God and man], so that those who have been called [by God] may receive [the fulfillment of] the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has taken place [as the payment] which redeems them from the sins committed under the obsolete first covenant. 

Of course, we can look to the ten commandments as a guideline to follow, but the perfect guide is the Holy Spirit, who shows us how to lead our lives when we submit to him. How do we do this? By knowing his voice. By following that conviction we have when we feel that we shouldn’t do something. That conviction is the Holy Spirit telling us not to be involved, not to say certain things, and not to act in a particular way. The more we listen, the more ‘in tune’ we become with his urging and guidance. We walk in the garden covenant, we know when God is near, which is always. We know how to answer every man, we walk in communion with the Holy Spirit and we start to see and use the vision of Jesus, because we see with the eyes of God, because we have the mind of Christ. We have been transformed to our original purpose and the material things of this world matter less and less. 

1 Corinthians 2:13-16 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

Women in ministry

I received much of this teaching from Jonathan Welton, who I trust and agree with. I hope I have explained it as well as he did.

1 Corinthians 11:5 NLT “But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or PROPHESIES without a COVERING on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head.” (My emphases.)

1 Corinthians 14:34 “Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says.”

Don’t those verses sound like a contradiction? It’s okay for women to prophesy in the first verse, but that she can’t speak in church in the second verse? That’s because they’re not instructional verses, they’re quotations of a letter written to Paul.

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The book of 1st Corinthians is a response to a letter the Corinthians wrote to Paul. In 7:1 it says, “Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter…” and then, he’s answering their letter, which pertains to their culture in the first century. He writes, alternating between quotes and instruction. Unfortunately, most English translations have lost the indication of when he is quoting; which leads to misinterpretation. In the Greek, there are 42 quotes that are bracketed in the 2 books of Corinth, by a grave accent, that are Not in quotations or brackets in the English translations.

In the Greek, it indicates that what he is about to say is a quote from their letter, not his instructions. In 11:5 he mentions covering their heads; which was to set themselves apart from the temple prostitutes. The prostitutes would wear heavy makeup, jewelry, and adorn their hair in braids and jewelry. The prostitutes prophesied falsely and mixed in sexuality with witchcraft. So in that culture, the women put a covering over their heads to keep down the confusion. Chapter 12 talks about the spiritual gifts and 13 is the love chapter. In Chapter 14 he instructs until he gets to verse 34 and in the Greek there is a strong quotation before 34 and after 35 indicating that what he is saying in 34 & 35 is a quotation from the Corinth letter. If you read from vs 33 & skip to vs 36, it says, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people… Or do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? Are you the only ones to whom it was given? If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself. But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.” So he is rebuking them for thinking they know the only way to conduct the church and service and restricting women to speak.

Now read Romans 16, also written by Paul, where he praises his co-workers. The word of God does not contradict itself. Please understand what I’m sharing and take it to heart, with an open spirit. Don’t let religiosity get in the way of realization. Some of Jesus’ most ardent followers were women. Some of the ministers in his time were women, why would it be different today and why would he say he makes no difference between men and women as there is also no division in race? Jesus’ death, burial, & resurrection took us back to God’s original purpose which was to be equal as man and woman.

Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Galatians 3:26-28 NLT
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

This is Not the America I Grew Up In

A few years ago, I had a person ask me if this was the America I remembered growing up in. At first I had given him a short response, saying yes, it hasn’t changed much. But shortly after, I realized it has changed and I revised my answer to him. Today, I’m revising that answer again, just seven short years later. I remembered his question this week and I’ve tried to pinpoint what happened to the land that I love? Today, I realize how drastically our nation has changed! First I want to share some definitions of the word ‘freedom.’

Freedom:

  • Exemption from external control, interference, or regulation.
  • Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery.
  • An absence of undue restrictions and an opportunity to exercise one’s rights.
  • Political or national independence.
  • The state of being free or at liberty.

Just looking at these definitions, I think we are no longer a nation of freedom, because the rights of some people are being held higher than the rights of other’s. I am applying this to the history and decisions of our nation. To be set free is to recognize what we have overcome. When our focus stays on the circumstances we once lived in, those things that oppressed us, we remain captive. There are facts, which cannot be erased from history – nor should they be. We can destroy all the symbols and memorabilia, but then we deny what shaped us into who we are today. How can we see how far we’ve come, if we don’t acknowledge what we’ve been set free from? This was attempted with Holocaust victims; there are some who denied it ever happened and some who have revised history. Fortunately, this movement has not caught on, but what will happen when there are no more survivors? Not that we should focus on their victimization, but we should celebrate that they overcame! We should also watch that it is not repeated. If we focus on what has happened to hurt, instead of what has happened to free us; then we remain victims instead of victors! As a nation, when we erase the wars we’ve fought and survived, we deny the victory of those who survived. We deny who we’ve become when we destroy the evidence.

Ask a victim of domestic violence who has escaped this torture and has been healed from those memories, if they are victims or victors. I am one of them, yet my attacker claimed to my face that he never hit a woman, even though my bruise was there for several months. What was I, if I am not a woman? He was expunged from any wrongdoing, because he had ‘friends’ in government that were able to get the charges dropped. But that did not lessen the damage he inflicted or his culpability. Thank God, I have not gone back into an abusive situation, but to deny that it ever happened, would be to deny who I have become. When we say that barbarous events never occurred, we invalidate those who have been violated, whether it is an individual or a group of people. They do not cease to exist and they do not forget how they were infringed, but they can move beyond those heinous crimes committed against them.

No, this is not the AMERICA I grew up in. I was taught our history; both the good and the bad. It was taught as an example of what could happen again. If we as a nation don’t hold to the principles of our founding fathers, then we are apt to replay the negative, or to return to the tyranny we escaped. The history I learned did not absolve those who sinned against humanity, it held them accountable. History taught us to not go there again. Wiping out the memories only strengthens the chances that it can repeat itself. Because, when we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are apt to repeat them. It may be a different set of people, who are targeted, or it could even be reversed, but it does not make it right. ‘An eye for an eye,’ never produced any winners.

I was also taught to respect authority. We did not backtalk our teachers or there were consequences at school and worse ones at home! There were disciplinary actions in both places! Now it has become almost heroic to defend every right, every move, every action, no matter how misguided, and these delinquent activities are celebrated in some groups. Everyone wants to debate and have their ‘rights’ even if it means denying the ‘rights’ of others.

When I grew up, mealtimes were started after everyone was seated and quieted, with the whole family at the table. We would say a prayer to bless our food and thank God for His provisions and pray for our leaders! We never left the table until everyone was finished eating, or we had asked to be excused. Our conversation during our meal was about our day, keeping each other informed. We were taught manners for eating with politeness. And we were taught etiquette in addressing our elders; such as saying, “yes sir” and “no sir” or “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am.” We called our friends parents Mr. or Mrs. unless they insisted otherwise. No “games” were played at the table unless they involved the whole family after eating. We didn’t have cell phones or electronic games. The television was not turned on until all the dishes were cleaned and put away. Television could be viewed without concern that children might see something inappropriate; there was no cursing, illicit sex, or the graphic killing of people shown. Much was left to our imagination. Children were able to go outside and play until dark because it was safe, now some are not safe in broad daylight! Most families went to church together every Sunday. Friday nights the whole town went to the football games during the season. Saturday mornings many locals met at the donut shop and discussed the game.

American Flag

Men wore hats and took them off during the National Anthem and everyone put their hand over their hearts and revered the flag. Nobody spoke during this time of honoring our nation, from children, to teens, to adults. It was silent except for the performance of the anthem. People bowed their heads to pray at public events. School was started each morning when the whole class would stand with their right hand placed on their heart to recite:I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

It was not uncommon for someone to pray in school for a person who had a family member who died or was in the hospital. There were no school shootings or the need for metal detectors to get into the buildings. They weren’t necessary! Most school functions were started with prayer: at sporting events, banquets, award ceremonies and graduation — and yes, it was a public school! No, this is not the America I grew up in! He got that right, I agree! I’ve thought about his question off and on through the years. Although I gave him a short quick response, I decided I had a lot more to say on the subject than my short counter to him. There are far more people who disrespect our nation and its history, whether good or bad. History is what defines us and shapes us into who we are today. It is a timeline of how far we’ve come as a nation. To erase history, is to deny the oppression of any people and their victories. The person who asked the question, was attacking me personally regarding an article I had written that he did not agree with. He stated it was not the America he grew up in and that people were calling him un-American, because he questions authority all the time.

When I thought of what he said, I realized we grew up with very different values! Yes, we are given ‘freedom of speech,’ but much of the mainstream media and politicians, pick and choose who has that ‘freedom of speech.’ and have taken it to an extreme to further their agendas. Where did our honor of country go? What happened to the ‘America’ that I grew up in? You might be surprised to find that the crime rates went up when prayer and the mention of God were taken out of school. You can look up the dates and do a comparative analysis. We accommodate other “religions” that chant and call for our death, we recognize beliefs that are antiChrist, and we protect terrorists. In schools we don’t prohibit other nations’ flags, but are starting to ban our own flag because someone finds it offensive?! Why has the Bible been removed from our places of education and workplaces? Who is defending the rights of Christians? Politicians took God out of America and school; let’s bring Him back! May God Bless America Again before we lose the America we once knew. ~ KMcA ©

Fading American flag