Throughout time, individuals have tried to make sense of the world by means of academics, experiences, and science alone. In many ways, It’s not difficult to see how the world works, but WHY does the world work this way? How can we make sense of the struggles that we face every day of every month of every year, until a lifetime has passed behind us?
We tend to believe, in a vague way, that something else is out there—that spiritual forces are at work somewhere. And yet, in our modern western world-views, we tend to compartmentalize these beliefs, leaving them in the realm of faith while we go about our day in the physical world. Yet, we still sense there is something more to it.
Epic battle movies and novels really do touch something inside of us. We might not be able to put our finger on it or explain it, but we know that this “something” is real. Hearing stories of warriors awakens our souls. A yearning, a desire, a vision, a need for something. The Hebrew warriors had a word for that “something.” In English, the word is usually written kavode (kavod). Kavode means “abundance”, “riches”, “honor,” “reputation”, “dignity” and “glory”. The root meaning of kavode is “to be heavy, weighty.” To give kavode is to give glory, respect, attention and obedience to someone who is worthy. But what happens when we seek out kavode for ourselves? Lets explore the “Why” of our desire to seek glory for ourselves…
Our world is riddled with war, but there hasn’t always been war. At the beginning of time, all was good and the kavode of Yahweh (Hebrew word for God) permeated all that existed. But it wasn’t to last. Kavode is an intoxicating thing. The glory and honor found in God’s presence is intensely desirable. Long ago one of Yahweh’s angelic beings wanted it for himself.
“Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world— was thrown down to the earth with all his angels…” – Revelation 12:7-9, NLT
Since that first heavenly battle, spiritual forces have been at war. Satan lost the first round in heaven, but shortly after the creation of humanity, Satan chose his next target: God’s earthly throne… located in the heart of man. When Yahweh first made man, and placed him in the Garden of Eden, Adam lived in perfect harmony with his Maker. Then God crowned His creation with the formation of Eve, and all three experienced paradise with each other and were fully satisfied. They lived in a peace and harmony we cannot begin to fathom.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1-5, NASB
Satan’s deception was alluring: God is holding out on you! He is lying to you! Sounds like He is threatened that you might become like Him! Adam and Eve took the bait. Unity and harmony were broken as Adam and Eve performed the first independent act against God. Consider this carefully, for it is at the core of our inner and outer struggles: In essence, Adam and Eve were deceived into thinking their glory, their kavode, could be found within themselves apart from Yahweh and His goodness.
…you will be like God
…knowing good and evil
An epic struggle between good and evil is taking place. Even as you read this, the battle for your heart and allegiance rages. You have been born into a world at war.
- You have been born into a land that is occupied by Satan, the enemy of Yahweh. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
- You were born as an enemy of Yahweh. It is your natural birthright in Adam. (Romans 5:10)
- Through your natural birth, by default, you desire to be your own god. You are wired to manufacture your own glory apart from God. (Genesis 3:6)
By nature, we want to seek our own glory. We suffer for it, as do our loved ones around us.
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” – Psalm 141-3, NASB
This harsh truth is echoed throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, confirming what we already know is true. “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” – Isaiah 64:6, NASB
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willingness is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” – Romans 7:18-19, NASB
Unable to rescue ourselves, can anything or anyone free us from this life of captivity in the ways of the world? Can anyone or anything deliver us from our role as pawns in the spiritual war?
Throughout history, resistance fighters have worked behind enemy lines in occupied lands. It’s no different in the spiritual battle for humanity.
In the Bible, David’s words about his battles are honest and desperate.
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears… The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:4, 7-8 NASB
God’s heart harnesses the ferocious love of a mighty warrior. A warrior ready to fight to liberate you—you—a captive in a world occupied by Satan and the demonic. This is not fiction. This is the climax of the eternal history of Yahweh’s rescue and redemption. God’s love drove Him to drastic measures to free us from the world and sin. We are prisoners of the Greatest War and His heart beats for you. When the time was right, God assembled His forces and unleashed a plan of liberation that had been in His heart from all eternity.
His battle plan would not play out like anyone on earth expected— but then again, war never does.
For hundreds of years, the prophets of Yahweh had been foretelling of the day when the Messiah (One who would save) would come to liberate His people. Under heavy oppression by the fist of Rome, the Hebrews longed for a military messiah and a political messiah. They dreamed of a forceful rebellion that would crush the Romans for good. But when it finally happened 2000 years ago, Yahweh’s plan of salvation took place in near stealth. In an unexpected twist, God took on a human body and was born in a crude shelter for animals. His earthly parents wrapped Him in rags and placed Him in a feeding trough. But this subtle invasion into the physical world was just the surface. In the spiritual realm, this was war. Satan and one third of the angels had been cast down to earth. Now, Yahweh Himself, in human flesh, was breaking through enemy lines—and the enemy was waiting to devour Him.
KING OF A DIFFERENT KINGDOM
At the time of (the Messiah) Christ’s invasion to earth, the Hebrews were a conquered people. They were allowed to practice their religion, but most were being taxed into poverty. Many were forced into slavery by the Romans; however, Christ made it clear from the beginning that He had not come to win a physical battle. He had come to create an entirely different spiritual kingdom that would no longer play by the rules of the world.
- He defended outcasts, prostitutes and tax-gatherers – Matthew 21:31
- He openly spoke with those who were considered inferior – John 4:7-39
- He reached out to the untouchables – Luke 17:11-14
- Rather than fighting the Romans, he commanded his followers to love them and pray for them. – Matthew 5:43-45
- When asked by a Roman Centurion—a leader of the occupation and persecution of the Hebrews—Christ healed the Centurion’s servant. – Matthew 8:5-13
None of this won Him friends with the Hebrew religious leaders. He was rejected and despised by many of those in power and several of them wanted Him dead. At one point, Christ quoted King David from Psalm 118:22: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
THE LAST NIGHT
On the night before He was betrayed to the authorities by one of His own followers, Christ and His men observed the traditional Jewish Passover meal. The men sang from Psalms 113-118, the songs of David, just as they had been sung during the Passover for centuries. But that night, Christ broke with tradition and did something stunning:
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” – Mark 14:22-24, ESV
A strategic shift was taking place. Christ would intentionally die in our place—His body broken, His blood poured out—so that we could be set free from sin and death. As the Son of God, He knew it had to be done. As a son of David, He wrestled with what it would cost Him. Later that night, alone in a garden while His men slept, Christ the Son went to prayer with God the Father:
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” – Matthew 26:39, ESV
It was Yahweh’s will that He drank from the cup and shed His blood for us. Judas betrayed Christ to the religious authorities. The Romans and religious leaders came to take Him. When one of His men raised his sword in defense, Christ again made it clear that His battle was not of this world.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” – Matthew 26:53, NASB
It must happen this way? Clearly, Christ was willing to submit to a pre-determined battle plan. Many, many years prior to the launch of the invasion, Yahweh’s Spirit spoke to men like David and other prophets sharing details of this plan. Dozens of these prophecies exist in the Scriptures. Embedded in the writings of David are many of the details:
Psalm 2:7—The Messiah would be God’s son. Hebrews 1:5
Psalm 89:3,4, 35, 36—The Messiah would be a descendent of David. Luke 1:31-33
Psalm 41:9—Close friends would betray him. Luke 22:48
Psalm 22:18—They would roll dice for his clothes. Matthew 27:35
Psalm 22:1-21—He would experience agony on the cross. Matthew 27.
Psalm 34:20—His bones would not be broken. John 19:36, 37
Psalm 16:8-10—He would raise from the dead. Luke 24:5-7
Psalm 68:18—He would ascend into heaven. Ephesians 4:8-10
Psalm 96:13—He will return to judge the world. 1 Thessalonians 1:10
Psalm 110:4—He is the eternal priest-King. Hebrews 6:20
Even Christ’s final words on the cross were words that Yahweh had given David 1000 years before.
Psalm 22:1 — “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (see Matthew 27:46)
Psalm 31:5 — “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” (see Luke 23:46)
This was one battle that did go according to plan, for it was the plan of Yahweh. About 700 years before the cross, the prophet Isaiah shared future details of Christ’s selfless sacrifice, how He was to be punished in our place.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. – Isaiah 53:5-10, NLT
Jesus saw our need and did what a warrior does. He slew the dragon that desired to enslave you and me. He freed us — at the cost of His own blood. Is this not the definition of a true warrior, one who lays down his life so another may live?
THE MOMENT OF RECKONING
Do you see that you are a prisoner of war in the world? Envision this, because it is true. But the direction of the war clearly changed when Christ sacrificed Himself. And then, in a shocking turn of events, He was raised from the dead (proving His power not only over sin, but also over death itself). Do you see that Christ and a multitude of angels have fought their way to the center of your camp? The enemy is forced to retreat from your lands. Now, during this moment of calm in the fighting, Jesus stands before you.
- He offers you liberation from the ways of the world.
- He offers you amnesty from your treason and your insurrection.
- He loves you and is shouting about you with joy.
“Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.” – Zephaniah 3:17 HCSB
The world and the war clamor around you, but Jesus has stopped and is looking you in the eye. His hand is outstretched, inviting you to receive Him as your Messiah. The situation is summarized in a letter written by Paul to the Colossians:
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” – Colossians 1:15-22, NLT
Yes, He has done it all. The invasion is complete. It is finished.
The moment will come when the Son of Yahweh, Jesus, will return with the sword. There will be justice on earth, but this moment is not that moment. Today the lion comes as a lamb, a sacrificial lamb. He reaches out with open arms and scarred wrists, offering reconciliation and redemption to you if you are willing to receive Him as the true Lord and Messiah and receive His Spirit into your heart.
One question remains:
Will you receive Him as your friend or as your foe?
If you surrender your life to Him, we would love to visit with you about what that means and where to go from here. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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