Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, March 31
  • Indescribable
  • God Of Wonders
  • Made To Worship
  • Your Grace Finds Me
  • What A Beautiful Name
  • The Path to the Cross: In the Beginning
    Open to , ,
    Open to , ,
    We’re parting from the Believe series as we approach Passover. Passover being the yearly Jewish celebration of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. On the final night of their captivity, every household was to sacrifice a lamb, wipe the blood on the doorframe, stay inside that night so as Yahweh went throughout Egypt, He would pass over the home with blood– so that no plague would befall them. Without the sign of blood, the firstborn would die. So this was God’s way of protecting them.
    The Jews did this once a year to atone for sins. Eventually, Jesus the Christ became the sacrificial lamb once and for all for the sins of the world. Those who trust in Him have their sins atoned for and enjoy a renewed relationship with God - Yahweh.
    Now, for most of us in the church we get that. Especially, if you’re 45 or older, the Passover and the gospel, the death and resurrection of Christ are fairly straight forward and - this is common knowledge. We grew up in a culture that had a biblical foundation. Very much like Acts chapter 2. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached to Jews who had a very strong biblical foundation and belief. And basically all he said was, “Hey, this Jesus whom you crucified is both Lord and Messiah and He’s alive!” And they said, “Oh, what do we do?” “Repent and be baptized,” and 3,000 believed! That was the culture of America from the 1700s through the 1900s. And recently, the 50s, 60s and 70s - the era of Billy Graham.
    Tucker Carlson from Fox News said this about Billy Graham -
    “He basically preached the Bible. In the America of the time that was enough. People stopped him on the street to shake his hand. We live in a different country now, but Billy Graham never changed.” ~ Tucker Carlson
    Jon Ward, a political correspondent for Yahoo News said this -
    “There will never be another Billy Graham, because the world that made him possible is gone.” ~ Jon Ward
    Not minimizing anything that God did, but Billy Graham preached to a culture that had a biblical foundation.
    We no longer live in an culture. We live in an culture.
    is when Paul went to Athens - a very polytheistic Greek culture who had little to no reference to Judaism or to Jesus. So what did Paul do? “Hey, I notice you are very religious. So let me tell you about the one God who created all this.” So to get to Jesus, he had to start from the beginning. Interestingly, only a few believed. It took time for the foundation to be laid and for people to believe. This is the culture in which we now live.
    is not the whole story. People need the whole story. They need to know the foundation to . Thus, we need to know the whole narrative of God. Genesis to Revelation - the beginning and the end.
    So what we’re going to do over the next several weeks is to connect a lot of dots to the Passover - to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We’re going to focus a lot on the supernatural. Now, the supernatural or the spiritual plays a critical role in the Passover. If we take the supernatural out of it the cross doesn’t mean a whole lot. So, we’re going to try to put the spiritual back in it. Some of this is review – but it does play a vital role in where we are going. So, let’s enjoy the journey ….
    I’m going to be using the Lexham English Bible - website on handout.
    Remember, everything we talk about is going to lead to the cross - the gospel - the good news.
    Genesis 1:1 LEB
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth—
    is the cosmic view of creation. It’s a very broad expansive picture of the beginning of our physical universe - space, time and matter. It can be literal or poetic - either way, this one God is the Creator.
    is the cosmic view of creation. It’s a very broad expansive picture of the beginning of our physical universe - space, time and matter. It can be literal or poetic - either way, this one God is the Creator.
    Prior to the physical realm in which we live, there was and is what we call the spiritual realm or more biblically, the heavenlies (planets, stars, spiritual …). In this spiritual realm are …
    spiritual beings or heavenly beings whom the Hebrew writers call ʾělōhîm.
    We translate ʾělōhîm as god or gods or God.
    depending on where it’s at in the sentence. Elōhîm in Hebrew is used to identify angels, ghosts, cherubim, Yahweh (God Almighty) and other heavenly beings – both good or bad.
    So, ʾělōhîm is a classification – not a name.
    God is not a proper name. Take mom for instance (illustration from The Bible Project). Mom is a classification. We know what we mean when we say, “She is a mom.” Or, “How many moms are here?” It’s a classification. However, if I say, “Hey mom,” we all know who I’m talking to - my mom. To me, she is the
    “Mom of moms.”
    She’s a mom like all the other moms, but to me, she’s in a class of her own.
    Same with ʾělōhîm - it’s a classification.
    How many ʾělōhîm (gods / spiritual beings) does it take to fix a light bulb?
    None. Elōhîm (gods / spiritual beings) do not need a light bulb because Elōhîm (God) is the Light.
    Just like my mom is the Mom of moms,
    Yahweh (God) is the Elōhîm of ʾělōhîms.
    Questions?
    So, this One Highest Elōhîm is the Creator, and on day six of creating the physical universe
    Genesis 1:26–27 LEB
    And God said, “Let us make humankind in our image and according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every moving thing that moves upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the likeness of God he created him, male and female he created them.
    (LEB) And God (Elōhîm) said, “Let us make humankind in our image and according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every moving thing that moves upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the likeness of God (Elōhîm) he created him, male and female he created them.
    Not going to get into it now, but I have a suspicion that this is what sparked jealousy among certain ʾělōhîm. God created this place and put humans in charge. But that’s later.
    Not going to get into it now, but I have a suspicion that this is what sparked jealousy among certain ʾělōhîm. God created this place and put humans in charge. But that’s later.
    Now, there are several things going on in verses 26 and 27. Notice, God is not alone. Who is God speaking to? Some believe that this is a reference to the Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit). I don’t think so. We don’t see this kind of conversation anywhere else in Scripture – at least not that I know of. God never speaks to Himself as “us.” For example, in the NT, the Father says to Jesus, “You are my son with whom I am pleased.” He doesn’t say, “I’m pleased with us.”
    So, with whom is God having this conversation? Scripture doesn’t tell us - so we don’t know. However, I believe He is speaking to other ʾělōhîm. To take it a step further, I believe God is speaking to the divine assembly, or some call the divine council.
    What is this divine council? Turn to . While you’re turning there … we see this divine council in other places in Scripture. Don’t say divine council, but if we put pieces together …. For instance, . Through the prophet Micaiah, we see a glimpse of what might be the Divine Council. God asks this assembly, “Who will entice Ahab?” Then a dialogue takes place between God and His council. Not that God needed their input, but this shows us He is a God of relationship, God enjoys community. NT - we are partners of the gospel, coworkers. So this idea of a divine council should not be shocking. God works in participation with His creation. So, why not in the spiritual as in the physical?
    Psalm 82:1 LEB
    God stands in the divine assembly; he administers judgment in the midst of the gods.
    God (Elōhîm – singular – how do we know it’s singular?) stands in the divine assembly (or council); he administers judgment in the midst of the gods (ʾělōhîm – plural).
    This Psalm is about the judgement of the gods - the rebellious ʾělōhîm. In verses 2-5, the Psalmist cries out to God - “When are you going to deal with these rebellious spiritual beings? It’s a mess down here and they’re causing problems!” That’s a paraphrase.
    This Psalm is about the judgement of the gods - the rebellious ʾělōhîm. In verses 2-5, the Psalmist cries out to God - “When are you going to deal with these rebellious spiritual beings? It’s a mess down here and they’re causing problems!” That’s a paraphrase.
    Kind of reminds us of
    Ephesians 6:11–12 LEB
    Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the stratagems of the devil, because our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
    (LEB): Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the stratagems of the devil, because our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
    We battle (should) against ʾělōhîm who oppose God.
    Remember, this is all going to connect to the Passover.
    In verse 6 and 7 of , God informs the writer that judgement of the ʾělōhîm is coming.
    Psalm 82:6–7 LEB
    I have said, “You are gods, and sons of the Most High, all of you. However, you will die like men, and you will fall like one of the princes.”
    I have said, “You are gods (ʾělōhîm), and sons of the Most High, all of you. However, you will die like men, and you will fall like one of the princes.”
    Yahweh is declaring judgment upon the divine council - sons of the Most High (benha` ʿělyôn) – sons, children, family members of God. We see this in when the sons of God (ben-ha ʾělōhîm – not human) had relationships with human women.
    Yahweh is declaring judgment upon the divine council - sons of the Most High (benha` ʿělyôn) – sons, children, family members of God. We see this in when the sons of God (ben-ha ʾělōhîm – not human) had relationships with human women.
    Members of this council, perhaps all of them will one day die. Like men, they’re existence will end. Why will it end? Because they chose to rebel against Yahweh - God.
    Has their end come yet? No. Has ours? No. So what do they do in the meantime? Try to destroy humanity and take us down with them - take as many to Hell as they can. Can’t take the spiritual out of the cross.
    I want to show you something in and then we’ll close. This is what we call apocalyptic prophecy. There is a lot of prophecy in Scripture, but only a fraction of it concerns the End of this world. Chapter 24 is one of these. God revealed to Isaiah what the End will look like. Read the whole chapter - you do not want to be here!
    Isaiah 24:1–3 LEB
    Look! Yahweh is about to lay the earth waste and is about to devastate it, and he will twist her surface, and he will scatter her inhabitants. And it shall be as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the female slave, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the one to whom he lends. The earth shall be utterly laid waste, and it shall be utterly plundered, for Yahweh has spoken this word.
    (LEB): Look! Yahweh is about to lay the earth waste and is about to devastate it, and he will twist her surface, and he will scatter her inhabitants. V2 - this will effect everyone. V3 - The earth shall be utterly laid waste, and it shall be utterly plundered, for Yahweh has spoken this word.
    Isaiah 24:19 LEB
    The earth is utterly broken; the earth is torn asunder; the earth is shaken violently.
    (LEB): The earth is utterly broken; the earth is torn asunder; the earth is shaken violently. It’s going to be bad!
    Before we blame God, look at
    Isaiah 24:5–6 NIV
    The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
    Humanity is responsible for this mess. Humans who rebel against God, who refuse to live according to His moral standards are leading us to a catastrophic end. However, we have some help. Those rebellious ʾělōhîm.
    Isaiah 24:5 LEB
    and the earth is defiled beneath its inhabitants. For they have transgressed laws; they have passed by statutes; they have broken the everlasting covenant.
    We are responsible for this mess. Humans who rebel against God, who refuse to live according to His moral standards are leading us to a catastrophic end. However, we have some help. Those rebellious ʾělōhîm.
    But look at
    Isaiah 24:21–23 NIV
    In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory.
    (LEB): And this shall happen on that day: Yahweh will punish the host of heaven in heaven, and the kings of the earth on the earth (the spiritual and physical realms). And they (rebellious ʾělōhîm and rebellious humans) will be gathered in a gathering, like a prisoner in a pit. And they will be shut in a prison and be punished after many days. And the full moon will be ashamed and the sun will be ashamed (metaphors), for Yahweh of hosts will rule on Mount Zion …. (Book of Revelation)
    So, we see that these ʾělōhîm, these gods, these principalities and powers will meet their demise. Justice will be served to both human and ʾělōhîm alike. Now, this takes us back to - but we’re going to stop there. You’ll have to come back next week for the rest of the story.
    So, we see that these ʾělōhîm, these gods, these principalities and powers will meet their demise. Justice will be served to both human and ʾělōhîm alike. Now, this takes us back to - but we’re going to stop there. You’ll have to come back next week for the rest of the story.
    Next time we’ll talk about the Eden, the tree, serpent, sin and an empty space.
      • Genesis 1:1NLT

      • Genesis 1:26–27KJV1900

      • Psalm 82:1KJV1900

      • Ephesians 6:11–12KJV1900

      • Psalm 82:6–7NLT

      • Isaiah 24:1–3KJV1900

      • Isaiah 24:19KJV1900

      • Isaiah 24:5–6KJV1900

      • Isaiah 24:21–23KJV1900

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