Greetings Friends! May I wish you all a very happy New Year, and my ardent hope is that you will have a truly extraordinary year 2020. If you are new to this blog site, I welcome you and hope your time with us will be a blessed and gratifying one.
I am about to make a statement you may not have heard before, or hear anyone make claims to these words. There were only two humans that existed upon earth which the Creator gave mankind. Whether we realize it or not, humanity has been given to choose to exist upon this earth under one or the other of these two human forms for posterity, image proliferation, dominion, creativity, and legacy. (Gen.1:26-30) Humanity’s future as a civilization upon this earth made in the Creator’s image depends upon the choice we make.
God had a direct hand at creating only two humans for human image-proliferation and superior beinghood. By ‘image-proliferation’ means to exist in God’s Love-image as a way of life, and ‘superior beinghood’ conveys human longevity, dominion, and subsequent immortality. You can say that as we face the New Year, we have a real choice to make. But let me present the two contrasting human forms so we are given a crystal clear picture as to the choice between them, and the challenge as to which to adopt and live by.
This is what the Bible says regarding the two human forms, “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we g bear the image of the heavenly man. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor.15:45-49; 21-22).
So, it is clear from Paul’s writing there are two Adams: the ‘first Adam,’ and the ‘last (or second) Adam’ (V.45). The first is the physical being, and the second is the life-giving Spirit (V.46). One is earthly and of the dust of the earth, and the second is the heavenly man (V.47-48). For ease of reference, we will call the first Adam, the ‘Adamic human,’ and the second Adam, we’ll call the ‘Immanuel human.’ The second Adam was given the title ‘Immanuel’ because it is the messianic title given to Jesus Christ by the prophet Isaiah, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Isa.7:14). Matthew translates the name to mean, “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Yes, Jesus Christ is the second Adam, the Immanuel who was prophesied to come.
By identifying Jesus as the second Adam who is ‘heavenly’ or from heaven, the passage gives us the truth about His origin as the Son of God. (John 3:16) The second Adam came through the birth of Jesus by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, as announced to Joseph and Mary His human parents by an angel, “An angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit” (Matt.1:20). Jesus proceeded from God the Father in the Triune Godhead. The Gospel of John states, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus proceeded from the Being of the Triune Godhead. The opening words of John’s Gospel says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2). Here, the term, “Word,” is reference for Jesus. Jesus’ function in the Godhead is the ‘Spokesman,’ hence He is called, the ‘Word.’ We will see later how the three Persons of the Godhead function in unified Love to help humanity adopt the heavenly humanity of Jesus – His ‘Immanuel humanity.’
As for the first Adam, or the ‘Adamic human,’ we read in Genesis how he was created from the dust of the earth. (Gen.2:7) Then we read about how Eve was created from Adam’s rib, showing she was not separate from but inherently part of the original creation of one indivisible humanity through Adam, and through Eve. (1 Cor.11:12) We see Scripture reveal that mankind was fashioned no different from the divine Triune likeness of the Father, Son (Jesus), and Spirit existing in one indivisible Godhead. (Gen.1:26-27) Then we read about what happened to our first parents. They were tempted by Satan, and they chose to follow the devil’s way of rebellion and sin instead of God’s way of Love and uprightness.
The Genesis account of creation and our first parents was very brief and short on details. But we can make reliable conjectures based upon insinuative corroboration from other Bible passages, especially as it concerns the divine nature (Triune Love), science and intersecting historical records. For example, there was no record as to how long Adam and Eve remained faithful to God before their fall at the hands of the devil. It could have been a very, very, long period of time before their fall. So, the fall could not have happened immediately after their creation as many have believed. Our first parents were created complete in God’s Love-image. (Gen.1:26-27) And the awesome power of God’s Love in the celestial environment of Paradise in Eden had kept them faithful and true to God for a very long time, perhaps millions of years, meaning, they had a form of human immortality to reflect the Creator’s immortal image. (Gen.1:26-27)
By being sustained in a deathless existence or human immortality, time as we know it today was meaningless and inconsequential for our first parents. Peter attempted to get our limited physical minds visualize immortality, saying, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Pet.3:8). John Tell us, “God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them. This is how Love is made complete among us ” (1 John 4:16-17). Or, whoever God Loves lives eternally, and whoever is eternal lives in God. This Love scenario in Eden proved that God’s Love is mightier than Satan’s rebellion which propagates sin and death. (Gen.1:26-27; 2 Pet.3:8; Rom.6:23) Love is eternal, while sin brings death. To think otherwise would make Satan mightier and leave humanity at the enemy’s merciless rebellious spirit, sin, and death. But nothing could be further from the truth, for Scriptures tell us, “There is none like You, O LORD. You are great, and Your name is mighty in power” (Jer.10:6, BSP) God declares, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me” (Isa.46:9). All of life, whether we are talking about the spirit world of the unknown, the world of angels, the devil and evil spirits, or the physical world of humans, the universe and beyond, are entirely subject to the sovereignty of the Creator God Almighty in whom rests all power and majesty.
Eden was no small backyard garden. It was significantly larger by our standards today. It was sizeably substantial so as to keep the animals and birds Adam had named to wander and fly about freely in the wild. (Gen.2:19-20) The Garden of Eden Paradise may have existed in a protective cocoon, much like the earth’s invisible magnetic field protecting the planet from space radiation. The invisible cocoon kept Eden and all in it, our first parents, animal life, bird life, and various life forms, insulated and safe from the dangers outside the confines of Paradise (Eden). There are phenomenons that occur in the universe and the physical earth that defy rational explanation. So, the existence of the celestial Paradise of Eden planted by God is not far-fetched.
When God warned our first parents before they sinned, saying, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die,” was insinuative corroboration that they lived and enjoyed a form of longevity bordering on human immortality, until sin brought on the death penalty. (Gen.2:17) The death penalty was immediate as it concerned their spiritual life – spiritual death means the cessation of the Love relationship Adam had with the divine after He and his wife Eve ate the forbidden fruit. (Gen.3:22; Rom.6:23; 6:16) Rebellion had displaced Love in their lives. Physically speaking, death was not immediate, rather the cessation of mortal life came through living the way of life of rebellion which led to sin, emptiness, and ultimately death. (Gen.2:17) The famed tagline, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” was decreed only after Adam and Eve sinned, not before. (Gen.3:19) Spiritual death was most ominous for it depicts an emptiness describing the absence of the Spirit in human life. (Gen.3:22, 24) This was the purpose that Jesus, the second Adam, came to restore humanity into God’s presence, for sin had blocked the way to the Tree of Life (Spirit). (Rom.8:10-11; 5:17)
The Genesis account further implied humanity’s deathless existence in celestial Eden. When God said, “Then the Lord God said, “The man has become like one of us, since he knows good and evil. He must not reach out and take the fruit from the Tree of Life and eat. Then he would live forever.” So the Lord God sent the man out of the Garden of Eden to farm the ground from which the man had been formed. After He sent the man out, God placed angels and a flaming sword that turned in all directions east of the Garden of Eden. He placed them there to guard the way to the Tree of Life” (Gen.3:22-24).
When God said, “He (Adam) must not reach out and take the fruit from the Tree of Life and eat, then he would live forever” (V.22), validates the fact that our first parents subsisted in a deathless existence through the Spirit’s power (Tree of Life). As to how long the life of our first parents in celestial Eden prior to their death sentence on account of sin, was irrelevant because time is inconsequential as far as eternity and immortality is concerned. It was only as the result of sin entering human life that death became real, and God banished them from Eden. According to the Bible, Adam lived for 930 years. (Gen.5:5) That was the count of years since the death sentence was first decreed after they ate the forbidden fruit. (Gen.3:19) God had switched human immortality into a mortal form of immortality – through human procreation, so that death will not overwhelm nor destroy mankind as the enemy had envisioned. (Gen.3:16) Yet, death was not to be humanity’s final fate. (John 3:16; 1 Cor.15:53)
After evicting them from Paradise God halted and ensured the evil spirit of rebellion will never be immortalized and perpetuated in Eden by mankind. To immortalize rebellion and the sin-condition in humanity would have destroyed God’s purpose for creating mankind in His Love-image. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8, 16) So, they were not permitted to live in their rebellion-conditioned, and sin-soiled, humanity in celestial Eden. By being ejected from Paradise’s celestial environment, humanity was now subject to the devil’s rebellious environment of sin and death outside Eden, awaiting the promise of the second Adam who would end human death and bring human immortality. (Rom.6:23; Gen.3:13,15; John 6:39-40; 3:16; 1 Cor.15:45-49)
Temptation by and large occurs in moments of weakness, and that is what happened to Adam and Eve. God’s primordial image is eternal life, and lives forever in eternity. Therefore, it was impossible for God to create our first parents and subject them to death – that would stand as an affront to Him and a contradiction to His divine eternal image He created humans to parallel and resemble. (Gen.1:26-27) Adam and Eve were created to live, not die! Death is synonymous with sin which sprung and proceed from Satan. Paul informs us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). Our first parents were created perfect in God’s eternal Love-image and thereby were bound to God’s immortal likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) It was not until Adam and Eve had allowed sin to enter their lives at their own choosing, and in doing so, death came into play and existed for the very first time for mankind. (Gen.3:1-6)
Their fall from grace severed the ongoing life and Love-relationship they had enjoyed with God. They were forbidden access to the Tree of Life which represented the Holy Spirit and the power and personification of God’s Love which inspired the Love relationship they had with God. (Gen.3:23-24; Rom.5:5) The countdown to utter emptiness and eventual death had begun. This is when the clock of time first begun its countdown for fallen humanity. Today, we are about six thousand years removed from Adam’s fatal decision to eat the forbidden fruit. Now, it remained for the second Adam to appear as God promised to rescue humanity by stopping the clock of time (death), and usher in the divine gift of immortality in God’s own divine will. Paul wrote, “For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies” (1 Cor.15:53, NLT; Gen.3:14-15; John 3:16; 6:40; 1 Cor.15:51-57; Gen.2:26-27).
Their banishment from Eden meant our first parents were to make a living outside the confines of Paradise in the Garden of Eden. They were denied access to the Tree of Life (Spirit/Love). This proved to be the most excruciating and crushing experience for them, since the Tree of Life (Spirit) was what empowered the divine Love and life which enabled them to relate with the Triune God in Love. Any semblance of the Love-relationship they had with God had disappeared because sin and rebellion had infiltrated and destroyed the perfect union of Love they had with God. The moment Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and sin entered their lives, their human immortality disappeared suddenly, and they assumed nothing more than their temporary human existence and mortality. It was said in the writing of sages that Adam was consumed with inconsolable grief for what they had done and all they had lost. What was sudden and immediate was humanity’s spiritual death God had warned Adam. (Gen.2:17) The Love-relationship they had with the divine Godhead had died in the moment of their sinning. The abandonment of this Love relationship through sin was what Adam mourned uppermost. Now, restitution must first be made, and sin and rebellion had to be removed and replaced with Love (Spirit/Tree of Life), hence, God promised restitution through His Son. (Gen.3:14-15; Rom.5:5, 8; 8:32)
From the aftermath of Adam’s fall, we have the fallen ‘Adamic humanity’ who is now influenced and shaped in every way, shape, and form, by the devil who Adam chose to follow through sin and rebellion, outside of Eden. (Gen.3:1-12; Eph.2:1-3) Our first parents were deceived by a cunning and conniving enemy of God who wanted to destroy humanity through sin and death. (Gen.3:1; Eph.6:12-13; Rom.6:23) So, there we have the origin of the first Adam, the fallen ‘Adamic humanity’ and death. But death was not going to be the final arbiter, it was not to be mankind’s fate, for God had switched human immortality into a mortal form of immortality – human procreation. Through procreation humanity is given the means by which to conquer the curse of death which lurks behind sin. In this way, God ensured His purpose in humanity will never be undermined or defeated by death. Today the human population worldwide is 7.8 billion as of January 2020. (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/) Death had not exterminated mankind as the enemy had envisioned. God, in His Love, saved mankind by passing the death penalty upon His Son as Savior to bring the promise of Jesus’ new humanity and human immortality to both the living and the dead. (John 3:14-16; Gal.3:13; Rom.14:9) So, we read the following passage from the Book of Hebrews, “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He (Jesus) die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying (death)” (Heb.2:14-15; 1 Cor.15:54-56).
Now, let us see how Jesus, as God’s Spokesman (Word), introduced the heavenly man, the ‘Immanuel humanity’ of Jesus to mankind. Then we will go through the three-step process of the Ascents where we will cover the work of the Triune God in making mankind, ‘Immanuel humans,’ and bring human immortality. Jesus is the firstborn ‘Immanuel human,’ so Paul writes, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who Love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (‘Immanuel human’), that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified” (Rom.8:28-30, italics mine). Yes, Jesus is the ‘firsborn’ ‘Immanuel human.’
The heavenly man informs us about the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, who became the human Savior. Thomas F. Torrance (1913-2007) said, “Everything would be emptied of evangelical and saving import if Jesus Christ were not fully, completely, entirely man, as well as God” (The Trinitarian Faith, Pg.146). Yes, Jesus was fully God and fully human, a completely new human to appear upon earth. Before His crucifixion, Jesus said, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father” revealing His oneness with the Father in the Godhead. (John 16:28). The writer of Hebrews tell us this, “Since the children have flesh and blood, He (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For this reason, He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb.2:14-18). Yes, Jesus is the Savior of mankind who appeared upon earth to proliferate His new humanity which humans can adopt through a new birth by and in the Spirit. (John 3:5-7; Rom.8:29)
How precious is the Father’s limitless grace and how magnanimous Jesus’ selfless sacrifice toward all of humanity, and the overarching Love and friendship of the Spirit. Then Paul tell us, “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body” (Col.2:9, NLT). Yes, Jesus is the firstborn heavenly man in whom we are called to give adherence in our lives as Paul continues, “For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory” (Rom.8:29-30). Yes, humanity is called to follow Jesus by adopting His new ‘Immanuel humanity’ over the fallen ‘Adamic humanity.’
Let us now see Jesus’ testimony as to the manner in which a person transition from being a fallen ‘Adamic human’ and become the ‘Immanuel human.’ The night Jesus was taken to be crucified, He shared what is commonly called the Last Supper with His disciples. More than just a mere supper, Jesus was about to make an astounding revelation and inaugurate a powerful ritual concerning the new birth into His new ‘Immanuel Humanity.’ All of mankind has descended from the first fallen Adam and needs saving from the sin-condition by a rebirth through Jesus, the second Adam. (John 3:16-17; John 3:5-7; Act.2:38; John 6:53-58; Eph.2:15-16)
He introduced a divinely ordained ceremony with two powerful emblems concerning the truth of the spiritual human rebirth into Jesus’ new humanity. Commonly called the Communion in the Christian community today, its traditionally known as the Last Supper. (Matt.26:17-18) The passage from Matthew gives us the original name of this ceremony – Passover. The first Passover was instituted long ago in Egypt when ancient Israel utilized the emblem of the lamb’s blood which they believed unleashed God’s power which freed Israel from Egyptian slavery. (Exo.12:1-13) The emblem of the lamb’s blood in the original Passover was prophetic and foretold the appearance of the Messiah as the “Lamb of God” to usher in the greater spiritual exodus of Israel and all humanity from the slavery of sin. John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29; 1 Cor.5:7-8) Thereby, we see the material relevance of the Passover ceremony to the Christian faith concerning freedom and rebirth. (John 3:5-7) The Passover can be said to be the heartbeat of the Christian faith.
With regard to the emblem of the bread, the scriptures says, “Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body” (Matt.26:26). With respect to the emblem of the wine, the passage says, “Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt.28:27-28). Earlier in His ministry, Jesus told His followers, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). Jesus was speaking metaphorically concerning His new ‘Immanuel humanity.’ (Isa.7:14) This is not a physical rebirth but spiritual one as Jesus explained to Nicodemus. (John 3:4-6) Paul said, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor.15:45).
The emblem of the bread represents Jesus’ body, and the emblem of the wine symbolize His blood. The two emblems add up to represent the whole new humanity of Jesus empowered by the Spirit. (Act.10:38) His incarnation as fully God and fully human reveals how humanity can adopt and receive in Him the new humanity filled with God’s Spirit. (Rom.8:9) Jesus continued in the passage quoted earlier, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me” (John 6:54-57). Jesus is not talking of cannibalism by any means, He was speaking metaphorically about His new ‘Immanuel humanity.’ This is a spiritual body and blood. (Rom.8:29; 1Cor.15:45) So, whenever humans partake the emblems they are manifesting belief of conforming to the image of Jesus’ new glorious ‘Immanuel Humanity.’ (Rom.8:29; 1 Cor.15:49; Eph.1:5) Jesus said His followers we’re to keep this Passover ceremony which picture rebirth of the new humanity until His return to earth at His second coming. (Matt.26:29, ISV). In other words, humanity is called to adopt Jesus’ new humanity in this human earthly life until His return, when at the resurrection of the dead, mankind will be given to inherit everlasting life in a glorious immortal body like His. (Rom.8:11, 29; 1 Cor.15:51-57; 1 Thess.4:13-18)
Let us now navigate the 3 Ascents which depict the Loving relationship of the Triune God in bringing humanity into the glorious new humanity Jesus brought from God the Father. The 1st Ascent show the human relationship with the Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. The 2nd Ascent depict our relationship with Jesus, the second Person of the Triune God. The 3rd Ascent portray the human relationship with the Father, the first Person in the Godhead. The three ascents open out to the 4th Ascent which unveils the manifestation of the Love of the Father, Son, and Spirit in personifying the ‘Immanuel humanity’ in mankind. The 3 Ascents reveal to humans the inward, outward, and upward acts of God’s Love in a person’s life.
Author Jon Tal Murphree gives us in succinct and profound detail how the divine nature of Triune God in the three Persons exists in the divine pattern of the Triune Life, “Each Person of the Trinity transposes Himself into the others without confusing His own personality with the Others…the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist as persons alongside each other as much as they exist in and through each other.” (Pg,29, “The Trinity and Human Personality”). When humans live the Triune Love in the 3 Ascents, this identical divine pattern become our reality too. Humans do not exist as persons alongside each other with the three Persons of the Godhead, rather each exist in and through each other, so we become one in our union of Love, as the Triune Godhead is one in His Tri-unity. We saw this divine pattern in the creation of Eve where she was not separately created apart from Adam, but inherently part of him for she was taken out of him, both existing in one inseparable humanity. (1 Cor.11:12) We live by and exist in the divine indivisible Trinitarian principle which says, “The act of One is the act of Three, and the act of Three is the act of One.” Let’s begin our journey through the 3 Ascents…
1st Ascent, Holy Spirit: Sin-Rebellion-Distress/Love-Uprightness-Harmony. In the 1st Ascent the Spirit gives humans the spiritual insight and vision to see the fallen ‘Adamic human’ who controls human life in the evil spirit of rebellion and sin. The Spirit is the Personification of God’s divine Love, and whenever He (Spirit) is present, rebellion flees from His presence. (Rom.5:5) Imagine a room that’s pitch dark, when light is switched on, darkness flees and gives way to light. This is identical with the work of the Spirit who brings the light of Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5). This is God’s inward act of Love toward humanity where His Spirit is active at sanctifying God’s will in a person’s life to adopt Jesus’ light through His new humanity. So, He (Spirit) gives us the insight to see the light of Jesus new, risen, ‘Immanuel human.’ By giving us the eyes to see, Herald (Spirit) also provides the strength to repent or the desire to change from the old self in the ‘Adamic human’ and leads us to Jesus and His new ‘Immanuel humanity.’
The Bible tells us what the Spirit does to humans, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. (Rom.8:5-9). The above passage speaks of two kinds of mindset – ‘according to the flesh’ or carnal, and ‘according to the Spirit’ or Love. The former is reference to the ‘Adamic human’ (flesh/carnal), and the latter relates to the new ‘Immanuel human’ (Spirit/Love). Paul goes on, “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom.8:13).
So, we see that the presence of the Spirit (Love) gives the human mind the consciousness of the spirit of rebellion and sin. The Gospel of John makes this clear when Jesus said what the work of the Spirit entails, and when He (Spirit) comes, “He will convict the world of its sin” (John 16:8). Then Jesus explains what the true definition of sin, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me” (John 16:9). We may have heard people give us their version of what sin is, but here we have the Spirit’s explanation: it is the human rejection, either by ignorance and/or doubt and distrust to accept Jesus as the divine Messiah given by God to forgive all human sin, and through the new humanity of Jesus, defeat rebellion. So, the Spirit points humans to Jesus as Savior and Mediator.
Now that we understand the role of the Spirit in human life, Herald (Spirit) leads us to the 2nd Ascent…
2nd Ascent, Jesus Christ – Light-Immanuel Humanity: The role of the Spirit is to lead humans to a relationship with Jesus the Savior. Jesus is called the Light because He holds in Him the essence of the new ‘Immanuel humanity’ that shines and gives Light to this world that has been darkened by the first fallen Adam, the ‘Adamic human.’ He said, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). Jesus is God’s outward act of Love for mankind. Paul was inspired to write, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come (‘Immanuel humanity’): The old has gone (‘Adamic humanity’), the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:17-21, italics mine). So, we see here that after we are given and become Jesus’ Light in the world, we will naturally make and take our appeal to those who are still in darkness, and thereby become part of God’s work of reconciliation.
There is one final step to take for humans to cross over from the world of darkness to the world of Light in Jesus. So, through Jesus’ death upon His cross, the fallen ‘Adamic humanity’ has been put to death and never given any semblance of life so as to control human life with its spirit of rebellion and sin ever again. Jesus led the way by His incredible and monumental task when He took our sin-laden humanity and nailed it to His cross once for all through His own death. Peter was inspired to write, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree (Cross), so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God” (1 Pet.2:24; 3:18, MSG). Paul said, “He canceled the record of the charges (sin and rebellion) against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross” (Col.2:14, italics mine). So, through Jesus the fallen ‘Adamic human’ was put to death upon His cross once for all never again to control human life through rebellion and sin.
But Jesus did not just remain a dead Savior upon His cross. He was buried and was raised from the dead back to life by God the Father on the third day. (1 Cor.15:4; Matt.12:40; Hos.6:1-2) Through His own resurrection, He also resurrected humanity into His new humanity – the ‘Immanuel human.’ Just as Jesus had put the fallen humanity in the ‘Adamic human’ to death by nailing him upon His cross, He now resurrects humanity into the new ‘Immanuel humanity.’ Jesus’ sacrifice gives passage for humanity to come before the the Father in the 3rd Ascent.
3rd Ascent, God the Father – Death and Rebirth The 3rd Ascent depict the human relationship with God the Father. This ascent of the Father is titled, ‘Death and Rebirth.’ What does that mean? Jesus had done His part in the ministry of reconciliation by putting to death the fallen ‘Adamic humanity’ in Himself upon His cross. All the while the Spirit plays His role of enlightening the human mind to receive Jesus as Savior. Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father in the Spirit’s power, as we read Paul’s words, “He brought about in Christ, when He (Father) raised Him (Jesus) from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph.1:20). Likewise, it is the Father who raises humans in His Son’s new humanity. This ascent reveals God’s upward act of Love for humanity of bringing people to Himself through the sacrificial work of His Son, and the Spirit’s inspiration.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul reveals how the Father uses the Spirit’s power to raise Jesus from the dead, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom8:11). Here, Paul is referring to the resurrection to the new ‘Immanuel humanity’ and the eventual resurrection to immortality at Christ’s return. To ‘give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit’ means to be alive in the new humanity of Jesus.
How does the Father resurrect humanity into the new humanity of Jesus? Jesus answers that question by stating, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:5-7). John the Baptist told the people this about Jesus, “I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mar.1:8). At His baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus was baptized for humanity setting the example of repentance and forgiveness with the Spirit descending upon Him showing how a person is reborn into the ‘Immanuel human.’ The Spirit enters human life and makes them temples of God. (Matt.3:16-17; Act.2:38; Eph.1:13-14; 1 Cor.3:16) In the final analysis, the ‘Immanuel human’ is a temple that God indwells through the Spirit. (1 Cor.3:16) Jesus told his followers, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (Spirit) to you” (John 16:7; Mar.1:8). The act of ‘death and rebirth’ of humanity is done through the process of baptism. (Col.2:12-15)
When Peter preached his Pentecost message about the Messiah, Jesus, the people responded, “What shall we do?” (Act.2:37). Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit: (Act.2:38). By stating, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” Peter advocates this process of ‘death and rebirth’ through repentance of the rebellious sinful life of the fallen ‘Adamic human,’ and receiving the Spirit by whose power the new humanity of Jesus, the ‘Immanuel human,’ is born and made to live in human life.
From the above, we see that the ceremony of baptism is the Father’s gift to humanity which delivers the reality of ‘death and rebirth.’ The ultimate process of baptism is the gift of rebirth into the life of the new humanity of Jesus – the ‘Immanuel human.’ What is baptism? Jesus explains its meaning when He commissioned His disciples to evangelize the world with the Gospel message. Jesus said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:18-20). When He said, “baptize humanity (all nations) into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” thereby baptism is the point where humanity is inducted into the life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. This admission is made possible only after a person puts to death and bury the fallen ‘Adamic humanity’ in the watery grave of baptism, and just as Jesus was resurrected by the Father, humans are raised out of the baptismal waters in the Spirit’s power into the Jesus’ ‘Immanuel humanity’ to live the Triune Life* in the Father, Son, and Spirit. (This is the mode by which I write my blogs on any subject: the 3 Ascents in the Father, Son, and Spirit).
To be “born again” means to bury in the watery grave of baptism the fallen old self inherited from the first Adam, and be given the new birth into the new self in the second Adam, the ‘Immanuel humanity’ of Jesus. This death and rebirth convey the essence of human reverse incarnation and is the heartbeat of the Christian faith. (Rom.12:2; 2 Cor.10:5, NASB) It is inaugurated through the gift of Baptism. Paul said, “You were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with Him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross” (Col.2:12-15, NLT).
We must remember the key words of this passage relating to the rebirth into freedom as ‘Immanuel humans’ promised by the Father, “He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities by His victory on His cross” once for all. (Eph.6:12) It means the power which energized the fallen ‘Adamic human’ through rebellion and sin and ruled over mankind since Adam’s fall has finally lost its power and authority over humanity forever through the Loving acts of the Triune God we witness in the 3 Ascents. Note how Paul greets the Christians in Corinth by establishing the Triune Life* as the basis of their relationship, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God (the Father), and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor.13:14).
The Father’s role in the 3rd Ascent is to bring to reality the promise of human death and rebirth through the gift of baptism. This promise encapsulates the promise and purpose for Jesus to enter our sin-conditioned humanity through His incarnation as a baby in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago, and ultimately bring human immortality. (Matt.1:20; 1 Cor.15:50-54) Jesus said this about taking up and adopting His new humanity, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:44). It is true also about coming to the Father, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Having this sure and eternal promise from the Father, we now come to the 4th Ascent…
Salient Feature: Briefly, let me give the essence of relationship we have covered between the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit with humanity, before moving forward to the 4th Ascent. Essentially, humanity has received three gifts from the Triune God. The Spirit gives us the gift of miraculous insight so that humans can see the need to extricate themselves from the fallen ‘Adamis humanity’ and turn to Jesus. It is much like, and is a copy of, ancient Israel being miraculously rescued from Egyptian slavery. (Exo.6:6, 13:14) The second gift through Jesus is the gift of forgiveness and the new ‘Immanuel humanity.’ (2 Cor.5:17-21) The third gift from the Father is one of miraculous death and rebirth through Baptism so humanity can now walk and exist in Jesus’ new humanity empowered by the Spirit of God, and immortality at the resurrection of the dead. (Col.2:12-15; 1 Cor.15:53)
4th Ascent, Humanity – Living The ‘Immanuel Humanity’: The 4th Ascent reveals how Jesus new humanity is manifested in humans. Many don’t realize the depth of how humans are existentially redeemed and saved simply because they now live in Jesus’ new ‘Immanuel humanity.’ Paul said it like this, “God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Cor.5:21). Humans are now sealed in God’s unseen spiritual ocean of Love which gives them the enabling power to live as reborn humans so the negativity of sin propagated by satanic rebellion cannot affect them as Jesus always mediates for humanity in His High Priestly role in heaven today and forever. Scripture says, “Therefore, He (Jesus/High Priest) is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf” (Heb.7:25; 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 10:14). It is a life of grace, freedom, honor, and destiny in the Triune Love of God.
Because of Jesus’ mediation as High Priest, we are given to utilize our divinely conferred gifts as platforms for good toward all, while keeping us in the bond of His unfathomable Love. God is able to be all things to everyone through the collage of gifts He bestows upon humanity. Paul said this, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (gifts) (Eph.2:10, italics mine; Tit.2:14). He adds, “Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you” (1 Cor.14:1, MSG). All our gifts are woven into the tapestry of God’s Love, so that we are in touch with everything there is to know about God’s purpose for each of us as persons with unique gifts in Jesus’ ‘Immanuel humanity.’ (Read my post on Jesus’ parable about human gifts, titled, “Invest In Gold–True Gold!” at: http://bulamanriver.net/3145)
We have seen how God inaugurate the rebirth of humanity through baptism. The primary gifts humanity receives from the Father are the gifts of His Son and His Spirit – both are expressed in the ceremony of baptism through death (Jesus/cross) and rebirth (resurrection/Spirit). Gifts by way of talents grow out of these twin primary and Personal gifts of Jesus and the Spirit. Once more Paul explains to the Romans the rationale behind the new birth with baptism, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised to life as He was” (Rom.6:5-11, NLT). Paul says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph.2:10). The Scripture speaks of Jesus life on earth in this way, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him” (Act.10:38; Rom.6:4). God handiwork is expressed through the talents He gives us to do good to all in our human relationships.
We utilize the Love-fruits of the Spirit in the exercise of the good works we do for others with our talents. God reveals to us clearly what Love means so we are without excuse. We see this revealed to us in 1 Corinthians 13. Here is a summary of God’s Love-fruits: *patience, *kindness, *contentedness, *the fruit of being modest and unboastful, *humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *joy, *peace, *goodness, *faith, *gentleness, *self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *The fruit of gratitude and thankfulness, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal.5:22-23; Rom.12:9-21) You may go to: http://bulamanriver.net/9199 to find Love-fruits and their antithesis to help us see the work of the enemy.
This promise of death and rebirth through His Son was initiated by God the Father in the 3rd Ascent by the ritual of baptism by which to signify the death of the fallen humanity and rebirth of the new humanity. The Scripture tell us, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal.3:27). The Bibles goes on, “For you died to this life (‘Adamic humanity’), and your real life is hidden with Christ (‘Immanuel humanity’) in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory” (Col.3:3, NLT, italics mine). Paul reminds us of the most profound and sacred reality of the new birth when we are raised from our baptismal watery grave, “And God raised us up with Christ (in baptism) and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:6, italics mine). When Christ was raised from the dead, He subsequently ascended back to His Father in heaven. (Act.1:7-11) How amazingly wonderful to realize God has taken mankind unto Himself by seating us with Christ at His right hand in heaven where Jesus our High Priest forever mediates for humanity, the firstborn ‘Immanuel human’ both human and divine.
Now, through the new humanity of Jesus, humans are constantly reliving the Love activity of the Triune God through and in the 3 Ascents living as true ‘Immanuel humans.’ Recall how Paul blessed the Corinthians by committing them in the Triune Life, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God (the Father), and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor.13:14, italics mine). How awe inspiring to live with the consciousness that you are now living your truth as a person who stands free in your own right fashioned in the very image of the divine, with the destiny of living God’s Love-image for His grand designs of dominion over all creation through His Son and in the power of His Spirit. (Gen.1:26-27; 2 Cor.13:14) Yes, as part of God’s new glorified humanity, you and I can look forward to an awesome future in God’s universal kingdom. Jesus will welcome His followers with the words, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matt.25:14).
Petition: Friends, thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus’ new humanity the Father has given us to adopt. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Jesus as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of a gloriously magnificent future for humanity. You can privately and quietly pray this prayer in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human Christ died for, not as a member of any religious sect or denomination: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised rebirth into Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me. May Your Love guide and protect me and my loved ones always, and bring us and all humanity into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.” Welcome to the Life of Love in God’s eternal Triune Being and Family. Then keep in touch with God’s word for you by visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation. Or you can email me with your question at the address shown below.
If you have any thoughts and observation you wish to share, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on email@example.com
Blessing: We wish you all the most successful New Year and a life of destiny, and may you experience the new birth into Jesus’ new humanity, as He came to unite mankind into the divine life of God. Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love,* be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible in Christ as you live the Triune Love of the Father. Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Farewell for now,
Kiang P. Lee (Your Servant In Christ)
*Triune Life or Triune Love: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. Its foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because Love is the nature of God. (1 John 4:8; Rom.5:5) I had coined the term “Triune Love” and “Triune Life,” to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the three-dimensional life, the human experience of God’s Love is always moving in an inward, outward, and upward motion where all the three Persons of the Godhead are in relational oneness with humanity. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2)
Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living/Loving,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune Godhead. (John 1:1-2) He took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead by cleansing it of all sin and rebellion. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit (Love) in humans. (Rom.5:5) The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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