GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 05/08/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 13.
How the Jew has his eyes opened to Jesus Christ as the Shekinah glory.
As we conclude the doctrine of the indwelling of Jesus Christ, the Shekinah glory, we read in 2CO 3:12-14, Having therefore such a hope or confidence, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
Paul wrote this in AD 57, and it is still true. Unbelieving Jews suffer from hardness of the heart and scar tissue of the soul because of the rejection of TLJC as Messiah. The phrase, were hardened, is the Greek verb poroo, meaning to become hardened, callous, or to make the heart dull. So, they are dull of hearing when it comes to the Shekinah glory. MAT 13:15, "For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes Lest they should see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I should heal them."
2CO 3:14, But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant [the O.T. Scriptures] the same veil remains unlifted, [the next phrase tells us how any Jew can become saved] because it [the veil] is removed in Christ.
The Greek word for removed is katageo, meaning to have something removed, abolished, or to put an end to something. Because the Jews rejected Christ as Savior their unbelief put a veil over their minds, hiding them from the truth. With scar tissue on the soul, the Jewish unbeliever read about Christ in the O.T., but did not understand. They stumbled over the stumbling stone [a reference to TLJC as the Shekinah glory] in ROM 9:30 33. They sought to be justified by the Law in GAL 2:16. However, this veil, or hardness of the soul, is abolished or removed from the Jewish mind when he believes in Jesus Christ.
2CO 3:15, But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; Moses is a term for the first 5 books of the O.T. and became a term for the O.T. canon. The veil makes it impossible for them to understand the phrase inDEU 6:4, Adonai Elohenu Adonai echard, "the Lord is our God, the Lord is one." This phrase means that Jesus Christ is our God and that Jesus Christ is unique.
When Jews believe in Christ, and the veil is removed, they begin to see the meaning behind passages like EXO 12:7,"Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the top of the door frame of the houses in which they eat it." They now see this prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the cross; when God saw the blood, the angel of death would passover that house. They see that TLJC was the Passover, and understand 1CO 5:7, "For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed."
They will also see the meaning of the brazen serpent being lifted up in NUM 21:9, "And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived." It is understood that the brazen serpent spoke of TLJC because in JOH 3:14 they read, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up." Or in JOH 12:32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." The Jews in the O.T. were told to look upon the serpent, and now with the veil removed, they understand HEB 12:2, Look unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Because the veil has been removed in Christ, the Jewish believer reads PSA 22:6-8, and understands why TLJC, the Shekinah glory, said on the cross; "But I am a worm, and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All who see Me sneer at Me; they separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, Commit Yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver Him; let Him rescue Him, because He delights in Him." They see the fulfillment of this passage in LUK 23:35, And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen one."
When Jews believe in Christ, the veil is removed as they read the prophecy in PSA 22:16, "For dogs have surrounded Me; a band of evildoers has encompassed Me; they pierced My hands and My feet" They see the fulfillment in MAT 27:31, and MAR 15:24.
With the veil removed PSA 22:18 is realized, "They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots." Fulfillment is seen in MAT 27:35, And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots;
The Jewish individual humbles himself before TLJC, the Shekinah glory, and his eyes are opened to these O.T. passages. For the Church-age believer, the veil of religion and legalism is removed when the doctrine of the indwelling of Jesus Christ is understood.
Jewish believers now read passages like PSA 34:20, He keeps all His bones; not one of them is broken. Fulfillment is seen in Joh 19:34, But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. JOH 19:36, For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, not a bone of Him shall be broken. They now read PSA 35:11, "Malicious witnesses rose up; they ask Me of things that I do not know." They see this fulfilled in MAR 14:57-58, And some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, "We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.'"
With the veil removed, Jewish believers now realize this speaks of TLJC, the Shekinah glory, and not the nation of Israel as they may have been taught throughout the years. When they read ISA 53:5, But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. They realize that this was fulfilled in ROM 5:8.
When they read the O.T. prophecy of the Messiah being silent as He approached the cross in ISA 53:7, He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. Their eyes are opened reading MAR 15:4-5, And Pilate was questioning Him again, saying, "Do You make no answer? See how many charges they bring against You!" But Jesus made no further answer;
The prophecy of His crucifixion is now clearly seen in ISA 53:12, And He was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors. The fulfillment is now seen LUK 23:33-34,And when they came to the place called the skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
When they read from the Torah in ZEC 12:10, "They will look on Me whom they have pierced, and they will mourn for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born." They now know this speaks of TLJC in Joh 19:34, But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. From the Torah, they read ZEC 13:6, And one will say to Him, "what are these wounds between Your arms?" Then He will say, "those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends."
Their eyes are opened in JOH 20:27, Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing."
2CO 3:15-16, But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. This passage refers specifically to the Jews. The Greek verb for turns is epistrepho, meaning to turn with the result of converting, here it is equivalent to faith in Christ. There is a potential for any Jew at any time to turn to the Lord, and the veil will be removed. In verse 17, there is the freedom to execute God's plan for their life after conversion, 2CO 3:17, Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord, liberty or freedom. The Greek noun for Lord is kurios, a reference to deity, and here it refers to God the Holy Spirit. The Greek verb is eimi, means He keeps on being the Spirit.
God the Holy Spirit indwells the body of every believer, and the Spirit of the Lord gives liberty only when He controls the soul of the believer. This occurs when the believer is living in God's pre-designed plan, where true liberty and freedom are found. The Greek word eleutheria means true freedom and liberty.
There are two categories of freedom: 1) Establishment freedom for the entire human race inside a national entity, emphasizing privacy and the free will of each individual. 2) Spiritual freedom, which only exists inside the divine plan of God, and is for believers only. This is mentioned in JOH 8:32, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And, GAL 5:1, It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. The yoke of slavery has to do with the cosmic system, namely legalism.
2CO 3:17, Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. The verse begins, But we all, with unveiled face beholding, the Greek word for but is de, used as a contrast between the unbelieving Jew, who has a veil over his mind, and the one who believes in Christ and has the veil removed. The unveiled face refers to the believer who is living in God's plan, filled with the Spirit, perceiving and metabolizing Bible doctrine. He understands Jesus Christ as the Shekinah glory indwelling his body. The Greek word for beholding is katoptrizo meaning to look into a mirror to produce a reflection, and the mirror here refers to the word of God. Continuing in 2CO 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. This means to constantly look into the mirror of the word of God, to be faithful in daily perception of Bible doctrine. When we look into the mirror of the word of God we see the reflection of ourselves as we are in Christ as well as the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. The Bible is the only place where this glory can be reflected. The Shekinah glory, our Lord Jesus Christ, indwells the body of every believer; however, the mirror of the word of God is needed for the Shekinah glory to be revealed. This results in occupation with the person of Christ, and continuing in the divine plan of God. In this context, the believer who is persistent in living in God's plan, and is persistent in the perception of Bible doctrine comes to a knowledge of the indwelling of Christ as the Shekinah glory.
The Jews profited from understanding that which they could not see. They couldn't see Jesus Christ in the O.T., dwelling between the cherubs, but they knew He was there from the cloud overshadowing the tabernacle. In the same way, we cannot see Jesus Christ indwelling our body, but we know that He is there because the Bible tells us so. It is from the mirror of the Bible that we learn about the glory of the Lord. Beholding the Shekinah glory will lead to Christ being at home in our hearts, EPH 3:16-17. Beholding the Shekinah glory will lead us to Christ being glorified in our body, PHI 1:20-21.
The purpose of the divine plan and the importance of perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine is given in the next phrase of 2CO 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed, this is the Greek verb metamorphoo, where we get the word metamorphism, and it means to be changed or transformed. This transformation can only take place when the believer lives in the pre-designed plan of God. We are not transformed by personal self-improvement programs or counseling. If we desire to be changed or transformed, we must behold the glory of the Lord or the doctrine of the indwelling of Christ.
Next in verse 18, we have two Greek words, auten translated same, and the noun eikona; together these words mean, into the same image. Jesus Christ is God and there is no way that we can be an image of God; however, we can emulate or imitate our Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity. Jesus Christ is eternal God, but His true humanity lived in God's plan for His life, functioned under the filling of the Spirit, and learned to advance through the stages of spiritual growth. He recognized the authority of God, "Father if it be Thy will let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not My will but Thy will be done." One of the first gifts that He gave to the royal family is not only a personal divine plan, but also the ability to fulfill that plan if the believer desires to do so. Being transformed into the same image is a reference to the image of Jesus Christ coming through the believer as the Shekinah glory.
2CO 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. We go from the glory of salvation to the glory of spiritual growth.
Ten principles learned from 2CO 3:18, 1) Our experience with God must take precedence over our experience with people. To behold the glory of God, we must be dedicated to the mirror of the word of God, Bible doctrine. 2) As long as you emphasize experience with people over experience with God, you will suffer under the law of volitional responsibility. 3) The pre-designed plan of God emphasizes right experience with God before right experience with people. 4) God is invisible, and this right experience with Him only comes through beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, through the daily perception of Bible doctrine. 5) The indwelling of Christ is much closer to us than any person on earth. Personal love for God must have priority over love for mankind. Personal love for Jesus Christ must come before you will ever have a totally successful relationship with human beings. Once this happens you will reach spiritual self-esteem and that means a right relationship with self and others. 6) Wrong experience with God results in wrong experience with people. 7) Right experience with God results in right experience with people. 8) Right experience with God demands perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine. Once the Holy Spirit controls your soul, you will have the capacity to be transformed. 9) There can be no true quality with our relationship with mankind until we have true quality with our relationship with God. 10) True quality in our relationship with God begins at spiritual self-esteem, the first stage of spiritual growth.
Our last passage on the doctrine of the indwelling of Christ is found in 2CO 13:5, Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test?
Self-examination must always be done with objectivity. This means no guilt, self-condemnation or lying to yourself. In this verse we have the doctrinal test of the indwelling of Jesus Christ. The phrase test yourselves is the Greek verb peirazete, meaning to test for what is good or bad. It also means to test one's faith, virtue, and character concerning a certain subject; here, it is the indwelling of TLJC. This is a mandate for every believer to do, for himself, under the privacy of his own priesthood. Notice that it doesn't say to test others, but to test yourselves, and you cannot do this in a state of ignorance of Bible doctrine. How you feel emotionally, or whatever are your intellectual opinions, they make no difference. It is what the word of God says about you and your life, for you are responsible to Him.
Bible doctrine must have number 1 priority in the life of the believer to fulfill the word of God, to live in God's pre-designed plan, and to fulfill the principle of relationship with God taking priority over relationship with people. There are constant distractions in our life designed to de emphasize Bible doctrine, and to frustrate the will of God for us, which is His highest and best. It is essential that our priorities are straight, and that requires daily perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine, especially the mystery doctrine of the Church-age.
Under the privacy of our own priesthood, we must examine ourselves in every area of our life: regarding sin, which is the only way we can rebound. Regarding fear, worry, and anxiety, where we use the faith rest drill to overcome them. Regarding proper objectives in life. Regarding our personal love for God, until we love God we're not in spiritual self esteem. Regarding human interaction, where the solution is spiritual autonomy where we don't lean on or depend upon people. Regarding our relationship with God, which peaks out at spiritual maturity. Regarding our status quo, where the solution is cognizance of the three stages of spiritual adulthood. Regarding our suffering status, as to whether it is self induced, punitive, or suffering for blessing? We can't answer these questions about ourselves unless we first have the doctrine.
Only metabolized doctrine can be utilized in self examination. It should not be put off until we feel like it, or until we get in a jam and are forced to examine our life. God's mandate is for objective self examination. We cannot fulfill this mandate unless we personally have an understanding of the doctrine of the indwelling of Jesus Christ. Until we reach the point of occupation with Christ and personal love for each member of the Trinity who indwells us, spiritual self-esteem is impossible. With personal love for God, we can know ourselves and then we find the new motivation that comes in spiritual adulthood.
Back in 2CO 13:5, Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test?
There are three tests in our passage, 1) Self testing for PVTD as the number one priority in your life. 2) Persistence in the perception of doctrine which means metabolization resulting in accurate and objective self-examination under the privacy of your own priesthood. 3) Application of a specific doctrine, the indwelling of Christ, to motivate in spiritual growth, and to frustrate and neutralize arrogance in your life. Spiritual self-esteem cannot be parlayed into spiritual autonomy until the believer passes providential preventative suffering, 2CO 12:7 10, And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Understanding the doctrine of the indwelling of Jesus Christ and applying it to the Christian life becomes a necessity in status quo spiritual self-esteem. Providential preventative suffering provides momentum for the believer in spiritual self-esteem while the indwelling of Jesus Christ motivates the believer in spiritual self-esteem.
Like the Shekinah Glory dwelling between the cherubs in the Holy of Holies, the indwelling of Jesus Christ is just as invisible but just as real. Like the Theophany of the cloud that covered the Tabernacle, the glory of the indwelling Christ becomes visible at the attainment of spiritual maturity, the distribution of our escrow blessings, and passing evidence testing as a witness for the Prosecution in the appeal trial of Satan and the fallen angels.