Just a word to invite everyone to my most active site, where I’m just beginning a series called: “A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree”. Hope you will “click” and join us there. willowtreewisdom.home.blog
I have known for a long time, the Old Covenant, the Old Testament in our Bible, is darkness to man, not salvation. And because it is full of a lot of good laws by which to conduct society, and the ungodly, we do not realize its death to us.
From the very beginning, the first covenant was meant for man to fail, and God to fulfill!
How many times have you asked someone if they are a Christian, and they answer by saying they try to live by the 10 Commandments? This only reveals their lack of understanding of God, God’s Word, and God’s way of salvation; for the Covenant of the Laws only prove us guilty! Worthy of judgement! No man has ever successfully kept the Old Covenant save Jesus Christ Himself, God Himself! Which He did in order to save us from the judgement our failure deemed us worthy of! And that judgement is based upon the First Covenant, with all the “thou shalt nots”, and “thou shalts”!
Please consider this scripture as a first step in understanding this very important biblical concept: “So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron? And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it.” (Hebrews 7: 11-12 NLT)
Jesus is the beginning of a different priesthood, which the Bible describes as a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, a very mysterious person who shows up for Abraham way back in Genesis 14! Jesus begins a different priesthood because he established a very different Covenant, which we enter into through Him! And whereas the first Covenant was based on 10 Commandments, our Lord’s Covenant is based on only 2! And we will look at the very different nature of the 10 and the 2, for there is great purpose and meaning in that difference!
As a first step in understanding this difference, please note our scripture speaks of a “perfection” God intended in that first covenant. As every human well knows, we do not do well with that word, “perfect”. In our world there is no such thing as perfect, especially in the behavior of man!
Jesus spoke of this perfection in his famous Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5: 48, when he said, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
But how are we to achieve such perfection? It certainly cannot be done by way of the First Covenant. That was why Jesus was here. To fulfill that Covenant and that perfection for us, and establish a new order of priesthood and a New Covenant, powerful enough in “His” perfection and “His” blood to save a true Believer! Wow! Is that awesome or what! But this also means the First Covenant is only failure for us! It is defeat, judgement, darkness, no hope, no light, no heaven! Only hell!
It did bring the One who is Light to us. Praise God! And that was God’s plan from the beginning. It does save us in a round-about way, if we realize that First Covenant is pointing towards Christ the whole time! It is meant to be as a school master teaching us the way to salvation, but it is not the salvation we need in itself. It announces the salvation to come, and gives us many lessons and warnings as to why we should not neglect the great salvation to come, for we do not want to die in the Covenant of Law! The Covenant of Moses! But we rejoice in the coming of God’s Covenant of Grace in Christ Jesus!
“There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Man always seems to think he can do it himself. That is our own logic and our natural way, unless we understand how defiled we are, and how far short of perfection we fall. The Bible teaches if you break even one of the Commandments, you are guilty of breaking all! And Jesus added to the difficulty of the challenge when again, in His Sermon on the Mount, he said if you even look at a woman with lust, you are guilty of adultery! If you are angry with someone, you commit murder! The mark of perfection is so high, man was without hope!
Now that we have established the basic understanding of how the Old Covenant is not life to us, but death; I can now begin explaining how I came to call the First Covenant, the “Covenant of Darkness”. I never called it this, nor did I even think of it in this way, until one day I realized by the time Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden, it had to be dark! Once I realized this, I became curious if all the major moves of the Old Covenant had darkness involved, and it did! I was amazed! And I realized that once again God was showing us more truth! It was more than my own curiosity, but the Holy Spirit was leading me.
So… you can begin looking at it yourself if you like, but next episode (P-2) we will look at Adam and Eve’s expulsion, and every major move of the Old Covenant thereafter, clear up to Jesus completing the Old Covenant Himself, on the cross. You might recall God brought three hours of darkness in the middle of the day in that event! And three hours is no simple eclipse!
And why is this so important? Because Jesus brought us the Covenant of Light. You will also see that every major move of the New Covenant, such as Christ’s resurrection, is performed in light! These cannot be mere happenstance! And so… if we try to pull anything from the Covenant of Darkness and force it into the Covenant of Light? Are we not guilty of forcing darkness into God’s light? But who does that, you might ask.
Well… our modern church does not even realize the love of money they are guilty of, which is the root of all evil! The New Covenant in Christ is based on two very different commands than the original 10. We are to LOVE God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And we are to LOVE our neighbor as ourself. The early church established by Christ functioned on LOVE OFFERINGS. Even the Pastors lived off LOVE OFFERINGS. When did tithing come back into things? Is it possible it was drug from the old and forced into the new because of the greed of man? We do not even realize how many ways we may be bringing law into God’s love and liberty.
I have pondered if this is even a slap in the face of Jesus as he hung on that cross paying the price for us to live in liberty and Spirit. I fear to answer that with a yes, but I see the possibility. We have a warped version of Jesus and as a result, we create warped disciples. Jesus said an easy yoke and light burden, and yet we make church a heavy thing, full of lifeless programs, boring repetitious routines, and very little true liberty and relationship.
Once upon a time I was excited when God revealed all this to me. But today I had to force myself to obey God and begin the work of putting this out there, because I have already shown this to others, only to find they are so programmed they can no longer look at scriptures for themselves and actually see what they say. Either that, or they just don’t care that much. I usually encounter one of the two.
So… I’m making this effort because I believe this is way more important than the reaction I usually get, and someone has to keep shouting that the “King Theology” has no clothes! Laodicea has no clothes! We should be looking to Smyrna! It is a very dangerous time to be Laodicean! But can the programmed ever see?
There is much more to show in the proving of this message. I know I have only begun to give you solid evidence of what I have said. I hope you realize the importance of this enough, that if you still have doubts, you will come back to examine all the evidence. But for now this is enough of the elephant for any person to eat in one setting. Chew on the fact Jesus changed the priesthood and the laws, because the First Covenant was never intended for us to succeed, but only fail. It is not based on LOVE, but LAW and PERFECT FULFILLMENT. This meal is to be continued…soon. Comments welcome.
It’s strange how my story of Church would go back to this guy, Black Elk. I mentioned in my last article how “once upon a time” I left the modern Church system in spiritual frustration at the complexity of it all and took a nine day vacation to the Black Hills to pray and listen for the leading of God. I needed clarity and direction. I needed some answers from God.
I did not know what to expect on that trip, as to how God would give me those answers. But now, what I received there, has led to a vision I began pursuing then, and still pursue today. That vision has become development of a Micro-Church, this Blog site, a prayer garden and free laundry mat from my home, a spiritual retreat in the country, and now the challenge of developing a Podcast to share our Fellowship.
In this continued journey, many words of a native Indian I never knew, or knew of, until those nine days, has become more and more meaningful to me. Today I would like to share this quote from him, from a book called: “Black Elk Speaks”. It is a “partial” quote because I want to focus on a certain “point” of his statement, and I wonder how many of you might feel the same way he did, in the words he spoke. I know I do.
“But now that I can see it all as from a lonely hilltop, I know it was the story of a mighty vision given to a man too weak to use it;…” Black Elk
We may slowly share the rest of his words eventually, for they are so rich, and fit our spiritual drama of this modern day. When I left the religious system to go searching, I knew nothing of Micro-Churches, but my soul was very hungry for something, and as I sought God for answers, I began following those answers one step at a time. Soon we developed a small Fellowship around what we began to see as obvious in God’s Word, and early Church history. Then further down the road I began hearing of Micro-Churches and discovered that was basically what we had already become, without even knowing!
How God led me to the book containing the words of this man is interesting, and as I look back on it, it happened just the way I have learned to be aware of God’s voice. Our nine day trip to South Dakota only had time for so many things, as it is in this mortal world. I had a rough idea of places I wanted to go, as we had vacationed there once before, like twenty years before. I wanted to revisit some places, and explore some new. But one place that was special to me did not fit the schedule, no matter how I tried to work it.
It is called “Harney Peak”. The highest point in South Dakota. A beautiful trail climbing into the mountain leads to that peak. I went there twenty years ago and wanted to do so again, but there was no time if my wife and I were going to reach a point farther west we had picked out. I can’t even remember the name of it now.
We never reached that westward point, because we revisited “Crazy Horse Monument”, only planning on spending a couple hours, but got so caught up there that we both did not want to leave! We spent several hours there, and a town close to it. We both realized we were sacrificing our plan, but we also realized God had a plan and that was the real reason we were there! God was speaking!
So as it were we gained an extra day in the Black Hills and I suddenly realized I could use that day to go alone, up that lonely path, to the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains. It’s elevation is 7,244 feet. But the weird thing was, every time I tried to find information on the path leading to the peak, I kept finding something called “Black Elk Trail”. This is not what it had been called twenty years ago. As a matter of fact, I learned the name had been changed just before I got there! And who was Black Elk? Why did God have this trail name changed just before I would arrive seeking answers? My brain began whirling with possibilities. And I knew early the next day, I was headed to hike that trail and relive a climb I made twenty years before, but what would that path speak to me now? And continues to speak more and more loudly each day?
I want to do justice to who Black Elk was, and also my experience that day, and where it leads me today. So we will continue our story next episode. To be continued.
A sacred blade will cut through the cares of this life in a different way than a cheap sword from China.
Sacred ways don’t come cheap, but the life they yield is greater than gold.
And tho the edge may have dulled with age…
never discount the tempering of a sacred blade.
So… II Peter 2:7 declares that Lot was a righteous man in spite of his soul being tormented every day by what he saw and heard as he lived just outside of Sodom, and as he was involved with that predator city full of predator people. What drew Lot to live in such an area? Was it the money?
I’ve pondered so many times why his wife was turned into a pillar of salt, of all things? I thought salt was a good thing, symbolically speaking. Are we not called to be the salt of the earth? And so when his wife looks back at Sodom being judged, which she was strictly told not to do, why did she turn into a pillar of salt? Why not pig dung, or catch fire or something? What is the Bible trying to tell us?
“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19:26)
I welcome any theories on this, but the best I’ve come up with is that salt was also a form of money in those days. It had value. In desert areas where you sweat a lot, it could be used to pay for other things. Also where the phrase, “Are you worth your salt?” came from.
So she just can’t help herself. In spite of the warning, she looks back at everything she is losing. All her earthly stuff. And whamo! She turned into a statue depicting a form of money. Jesus warns us also; when speaking of the last days, judgement, and possibly rapture, he tells us to “Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32)
As an American, how hard is it going to be for me not to look back at my earthly goods with some kind of longing? I think that was the real problem with her looking back. She was too attached to her material things. Are my affections set on things above?
In the account of Lot’s rescue by the two angels, which is in detail in Genesis 19, the word angel is used 7 times! That’s kind of a lot. Angels were heavily involved in the rescue of Lot, his wife, and two daughters. Those angels were likely there because of the interceding of Lot’s Uncle Abraham. I want to look closer at angel involvement in the last days in Part 3, but for this article, I want to consider something else. I want to examine where the angels told Lot and his family to flee. They told them to escape to the mountains! But Lot said that was too hard. They would die there. And he begged for another place.
Gen. 19:17> “When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, ‘Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
(VRS 18) “Oh my Lord!”
Lot begins begging to be allowed to go to a small town called Zoar. He cries that they will die in the mountains, and the angel grants his request. But what does the mountains represent? A separation to our Lord, the high places, spirit life, the eagle, all the good things of God, the very life we are supposed to desire as the born-again, but Lot dreaded the thought of it! And the angels suffered his pleading. They allowed him to settle. But what ended up happening? We find out in verse 30.
After everything that happened, something began happening in Lot. Another fear began to invade him. After seeing such destruction and judgement, then it says he began to fear the people in Zoar! And he ends up going to the mountains after all! And some bad things happened there too, but… a new fear overcame Lot’s fear of the mountains. He was terrified of them before. He begged not to go there. But ended up going of his own free will, because of the evil he now saw in other people. Hhmmm.
We should not fear the high places of living in Christ, separating ourself to the love of God. We have nothing to fear in those high places, and everything to be gained.
“Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters.”
Obviously Lot had some issues after what he had been through, but it was his own selfish heart that caused him to take the bountiful looking land while he left his uncle with the desert. Then he decides to mingle with Sodom, and for what? Money? Was it worth it? I think not. But how careful are we not to be doing the same thing? Could we end up with a destroyed family and so full of fear we run to a cave? Don’t be too quick to say that will never happen to me.
Why should we learn from Lot? I suspect we each have our own Sodom we’re contending with? Are we living too close? If so, why? What is the motivation? Are we calling on the angels God has made available to us? More on that in Part 3, but for now, we would do well to take heed of the words of our Lord. A very simple 3 word recommendation, or is it a command? “Remember Lot’s wife.” 3 simple words.
After Part 3 of “Lot”, the story of “Yinney the Sloth who needed to Poo” will continue.
“Are you a spiritual teacher?” Bubba suddenly asked.
“I hear you are, too,” Yinney answered.
Bubba sat back on the limb and his demeanor became one of great interest. “Have you come to ask questions about Buddhism?”
“I have come seeking a table of fellowship,” Yinney answered. “I would like to have conversations concerning Buddhism and Christianity ‘IF’ …we can do so in an atmosphere of ‘fellowship’. In my faith ‘fellowship’ determines everything. If we can talk and share, while maintaining an atmosphere of peace and love, a true desire of knowing each other, and respect, then our conversations could bear great fruit. But if we cannot do so in such respect, if fellowship is not possible and it becomes a battle of pride, then I will take my leave, for I do not seek such things. I offer mutual respect and conversation about our favorite subjects, and to seek understanding.”
“Bubba was silent for a while, obviously in deep thought about this sloth, before asking, “And what is your faith?”
“I am a follower of Jesus the Christ and the Hebrew scriptures,” he answered.
By this time several monkeys were hanging around. The verbal drama playing out before them was the most interesting thing going on.
“I have also studied Hebrew scriptures,” Bubba said, “and we believe the Prophet Jesus was a great teacher. He is highly respected by one and all. But does not your scriptures ask, what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
“Indeed it does,” Yinney confirmed, “and if we descend into darkness I will take my leave, as I have said, but ‘fellowship and mutual respect’ is not darkness, it is light. It is sought by my faith. Some religious people push a temple, not a table. They constantly press you to come to their Church building, but I say we have Church right here. I say every action we take should be a form of Church.”
“Hhmmm,” Bubba said as he rubbed his chin. “You are different. Perhaps we could test this thing you say. I too, have no desire for battle. I am peace loving even as the Buddha taught. My ways are simple, and I do enjoy good conversation about eternal things. Perhaps we should do this?”
“We already are,” Yinney revealed with a smile. Bubba’s eyes lit up, and slowly it began, that deep laughter rolling upward out of his soul! And then all the other monkeys began leaping about and cheering! Something new, something of great interest had come to their grove of rubber trees! This would provide much entertainment for one and all, the “Conversations of Bubba and Yinney”! There would be much to think about. Boredom was broken this day, as something new had come!
“So…how does this work?” Bubba asked. “Can this nice fat limb be our table?”
“It most certainly can,” Yinney answered.
“It is done then. We shall have spiritual conversation in an atmosphere of mutual respect! Are you thirsty, my very slow friend?”
“Yes, a drink would be nice,” Yinney answered.
Bubba motioned to another monkey, asked if he would be so kind to bring some drinks, the monkey hurried off and soon returned with a pitcher of juice, two cups, and some green leaves. He set them on the limb between them, and then leaped away to hang by his tail and listen.
“Oh this is very nice. Thank you,” Yinney said. “I have been on a six day journey seeking community in the neighborhood. I only recently chose my 7th Day Tree and became a part of this area.”
“I am aware of your need to be at the same tree every seven days,” Bubba said. “It sure presents a great danger for your kind.”
“Yes, it does. Our greatest danger. But also a great honor to bless the tree in such a way.”
Bubba watched the sloth slowly reaching for the cup of juice. He wondered how many drinks he could take before Yinney even took one? So far he was up to three, but who was counting?
“So how much time do you have before you must leave?”
The cup had finally reached the sloth’s lips. Yinney was parched and the juice was so good as he savored it. And he did savor it.
Bubba patiently waited, somewhat amused and amazed. The other Howler monkeys whispered in each other’s ears, and one began timing the sloth on his watch! The crowd around Bubba’s rubber tree had grown tremendously as word spread through the trees of the jungle like wild fire.
“Ahhhh,” Yinney finally said, “That juice is so good! I have the remainder of this day I can spend with you. Tomorrow morning I must leave, but if we have good fellowship, I will return as God allows. And you must visit me, too. My 7th Day Tree stands at this end of the lagoon.”
“very good,” Bubba said. “Everyone knows the lagoon you speak of, much like this grove of rubber trees is known. How did you learn of us?”
“Do you know a spider monkey named, Kujo?”
“Haaaa!” Bubba laughed! “I certainly do! So he has not been swallowed by an anaconda yet? Haaa! I love it when he tells me I’m just an accident. He is such a sad monkey. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him laugh.”
“That is sad,” Yinney agreed, “not to laugh.”
And so it was that Yinney became known in a grove of rubber trees as he sought fellowship with Bubba and whoever so desired. Communion was the heart of our Lord. He always had kind words for the lost and the hurting. He sat at tables with sinners and shared food, but he spoke very hard to the religious! And when he spoke in their big temples, his words so infuriated them, they would run him out!
This was the beginning of a friendship of respect between Bubba and Yinney, and many deep conversations.
“So what does your holy Word say about ‘karma’?” Bubba asked.
It was time to make himself known to the neighborhood and begin building community, as the vision had spoken. As a spiritual teacher, Yinney was all about promoting peace, and promoting peace was all about true “fellowship”. And you can’t have fellowship with someone who wants to eat you. This was an important part of the message he carried in his heart as he went out.
His 7th Day Tree lie a day behind. He was in the early hours of his second day of travel. He could only go three days out before having to begin his journey back to his tree, because when Yinney had to poo, it had to be there. It was the sacred way of his people, and why have a sacred tree if you’re not going to live in a sacred way?
So far there had been no special contacts with anyone, but he still remained hopeful and prayerful. There was no reason to rush. No reason to allow the small Fellowship that had started with Lu-Lu to be overcome by fast growing weeds. Weeds flourished in speed. Slowly he moved through the green canopy of trees like a slow flowing river, at peace with himself, his God, and the world.
Sloths are masters of moderation. Their very survival depends on it. A diet of leaves does not provide a lot of calories, so they do not have the fast metabolism for speed. They must be conservative in stretching the fuel they have and waste no energy. They had learned to pace themself in the flow of slow, thereby maximizing a day’s progress. This usually meant moving through trees at a speed of 13 feet per minute. This of course was interrupted by regular rest breaks.
Yinney was now well into his second day of moving in just this way. The morning hours had long passed when he first heard the sound. But what was it? The sound of someone crying? He was not sure, but turned in that direction. Another twenty minutes later he arrived at the source. His sloth ninja movements had kept him unnoticed by the one he spotted below, someone obviously in distress. It was a capybara.
Yinney decided to make contact, after all, the capybara were peace-loving as himself. Perhaps they could have fellowship? He would tell the capybara of his 7th Day Tree next to the lagoon, a place of fellowship for all. But first he must inquire of the source of the large rodent’s sadness, for it was very clear the capybara was indeed weeping.
Yinney was now directly above the grieving beast, but still unseen. He decided it was best to simply make himself known and offer his help. “Hello, friend. Are you in pain?”
The capybara was so lost in grief it was not even startled by a voice suddenly coming from above. For one thing, predators did not come with kind words, but with slashing claws and sharp teeth!
“Oh! Your a sloth! No wonder I did not see or hear you,” the large Amazon rodent said while making a great effort to contain his weeping and regain composure, but the effort was only somewhat successful, when Yinney asked his next question.
“What is the source of you grief, friend?”
“My friend…my friend…my friend…” and he cried some more before finally adding, “he was murdered by that predator, Jag! Jag ripped him to shreds and feasted on his body! He left his carcass for others. He bragged of slaughtering my friend, and what a delight he was to feast upon. My friend is dead, and I miss him. There is no justice. His life was snuffed out by a thoughtless killer. All he wanted to do was graze in peace.”
Yinney managed to find a lower limb and moved closer to the grieving capybara who had lost a special friend. “There is nothing that can take away the pain you feel. Your friend is honored in your grief. You show yourself a true friend.”
Yinney said little after that. He stayed close and let the capybara talk as much, or as little as he felt, until finally a peace began to fall over him.
“My name is Capy,” he finally shared, his voice weak from so much emotion.
“Hi, Capy. I’m Yenny. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
A gentle conversation began between them as Capy maintained some control. He knew of the reputation of sloths being great spiritual teachers, and began asking more about faith and an afterlife.
“Is my friend still alive somewhere? Will I see him again, someday?”
“From the moment of conception we never cease to exist,” Yinney answered. “Soul is eternal. This is why we focus on the soul, not the flesh. These are things we teach. Jesus taught us to lay up treasures in heaven, not upon this earth, where sooner or later we must say good-bye. Did your friend have knowledge of ‘The Great Way’?”
“I cannot say for sure, but he spoke of an eagle who once taught him things very similar to what you say. I think I would like to learn more of this way you speak of, and the Fellowship. What is the name again?”
“Fellowship of the 7th Day”, Yinney answered, and further explained, “We are not confined to any time or place to have Church. We are having it right now. Jesus had Church all the time, and everywhere he went. My 7th Day Tree is simply where I live and can be found most of the time, but as you see, I also love house calls. I just can’t get there very fast, being a sloth and all.”
They both chuckled about that. Then Yinney dropped on down to the ground and spent some time explaining to Capy about the All-Creator, his Son, the Holy Spirit, and how God came to man through the Hebrew people, and the Book they wrote of the experience.
Capy could not get enough, he was so hungry to know more. He was at such a point in his life, with the sudden loss of his friend. He made sure he understood where the 7th Day Tree was before Yinney finally climbed back into the trees and slowly ascended out of sight into the canopy of green. Yinney was happy. Fellowship had connected. Community could grow, and maybe something could also be done to alert the peaceful when predators are around.