Secondly, I had a really great day yesterday…my time with Pastor Ben (and Kettly) was very enjoyable…they went with me to the TV interview (which went extremely well…watch for it if you get Daystar or Word…and it will also be aired on Streaming Faith) and to the King Center. Then Pastor Lee took me to an amazing dinner at the High Museum of Art in honor of two new exhibits that you should check out. The first one is called The Road to Freedom (on view through October 05), in which you can witness the Civil Rights Movement in pictures…a ground-breaking exhibition of powerful and compelling photographs. The second one is called After 1968 (also through October 05), in which you can examine seven contemporary artists' ideas of the Civil Rights Movement's legacy. It’s a companion exhibition to Road to Freedom. Then I ended the evening with a phone conversation with a blogger (who may or may not want to comment about it) that was all about restoring broken fellowship and healing old wounds…good day, all day long…
I loved everything that you wrote yesterday in response to my article about the New Jerusalem, and I want to say a little more on the subject of its’ coming here on today’s article (I don’t want to say too much more about it because I want to save the good stuff for my sermon Sunday). But I feel the same way as Peacemaker, who commented yesterday that “there is so much going on both inside and outside my head”…
Let me try to address some of what is going on in me today...
When we were with Israelis in Jerusalem a few days ago, hearing their viewpoints and seeing the world through their paradigm, I could completely understand their position on things pertaining to their nation, and on what they believe to be the will of God concerning it. Then, when we crossed over into Palestine and met with the Muslim Palestinians, my heart so went out to them, and I could feel their pain and frustration…and I completely understood their viewpoints, as well. I even understood their view of the will of Allah. In fact, I was so flooded with the Spirit of Understanding all week long that I could see the points of every group, including the Evangelicals and Dispensationalists! I mean, if you’re spiritually sensitive and aware, Israel, especially Jerusalem, can really mess with your mind!
But because I could see everyone’s point…and because I believe that each point is valid…I became more convinced than ever before that the “Israel of God” that Paul talked about has to be a SPIRITUAL ISRAEL, that can only be interpreted and understood IN THE SPIRIT! The most profound moment of our trip, for me, was standing with Muslims and Jews and people of other belief systems on the very spot where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and hearing an Israeli man (who is not a Christian) read these words from the Apocalypse (the Revelation) … “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
Then he cried out “Come, the New Jerusalem!”
When it was my turn to speak, I ended my part with singing these lines… “Let the river run…let all the dreamers wake the nations…come, the New Jerusalem!”
That’s all I want to say about that here…I’ll talk about it more on Sunday. By the way, and just so you’re aware, this weekend at CITN will manifest one of the most amazing outpourings of the Holy Spirit that we have ever seen. Just thought you’d like to know…
One thing I do want to leave with you, however, is this Scripture, and all I can say about it is, “let he who has ears, hear…”
Those who want to make a good impression and a fine show in the flesh would try to compel you to receive circumcision, simply so that they may escape being persecuted for allegiance to the cross of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For even the circumcised [Jews] themselves do not [really] keep the Law, but they want to have you circumcised in order that they may glory in your flesh (your subjection to external rites). But far be it from me to glory [in anything or anyone] except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) through Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world! For neither is circumcision [now] of any importance, nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus, the Messiah]. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule [who discipline themselves and regulate their lives by this principle], even upon the [true] Israel of God!
(Galatians 6:12 – 16, AMP)
These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ's suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don't keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible! For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can't you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
(Galatians 6:12 – 16, The Message)
Whoever are wanting to put on a fair face in the flesh, these are compelling you to circumcise only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ Jesus. For not even they who are circumcising are maintaining law, but they want you to be circumcised that they should be boasting in that flesh of yours. Now may it not be mine to be boasting, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything, but a new creation. And whoever shall observe the elements by this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, also on the Israel of God.
(Galatians 6:12 – 16 , CLNT)